Next week marks the beginning of the busiest event week of the summer. We kick off the week on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 pm with the 176th Grand Illumination in the Oak Bluffs Campground. Started over a century ago, campers and visitors alike enjoy a traditional Community Sing that culminates in all the cottages coming alive with numerous colorful Chinese and Japanese lanterns.
Illumination is followed by the start of the 150th Agricultural Society Fair on Thursday, August 18 through the 21st and it is held in West Tisbury on the corner of State Road and Panhandle Road. Our third big event, the annual fireworks presentation by the Oak Bluffs Fireman’s Civic Association, is on Friday night in Oak Bluffs at the Town Park. The evening starts with music at 8 pm by the Gazebo and the fireworks at dark.
For Illumination Night and fireworks, you might choose to enjoy dinner first in one of the many restaurants in town, or you might decide to go with a homemade picnic. For the picnicker you will need to pack your dinner in something cool and transportable. LeRoux on Main Street in Vineyard Haven and Granite at the Triangle in Edgartown both have great glass dishes with form-fitting lids to transport your food, along with cooler packs and colorful plastic picnic dishes. Coolers themselves (I love the ones with wheels on them), folding lawn chairs, and blankets can also be found at Granite, along with such places as Stop & Shop’s Summer Store, The Corner Store in Oak Bluffs, and Shirley’s Hardware in Vineyard Haven. While at these locations, it would be a great idea to find a good bug spray for all these outdoor activities. If you would like to make your home look like the Campground cottages, colorful Japanese and Chinese style lanterns can be found at Philips Hardware on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Next door at Rosebuds Balloons, parents might appreciate some glow-in-the-dark necklaces, wands, and bracelets to make finding their child easier during these evening events, and it is a plus that kids just adore wearing them. Or, find them on Illumination and Fireworks night being sold by the Fireman’s Civic Association.
The Agricultural Society Fair offers its own opportunities to shop while enjoying great local food and a host of enjoyable events. You will find vendors offering everything from clothing, to artful weather vanes, and even temporary tattoos for those adventuresome at heart. Whatever brings you to the Fair, make sure to leave some time to admire the great wares at some of the many vendor booths.
Keep in mind that this weekend, Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14, is a tax-free weekend so if you have been putting off buying something for under $2,500, now might be the time. You should also look for many of our Island businesses to be holding some special sales in conjunction with the Tax Free weekend, such as Up Island Paint & Tool’s Tent Sale, this weekend from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and 9 am to 1 pm on Sunday, at their location of 505 State Road in West Tisbury. Under their tent you will find a vast selection of items on sale, from summer products like hand tools, garden tools and supplies, and organic pesticides to paint, brushes, stains, and much more. They will even have an almost storewide sale inside and will be offering mini demos on such things as the Sea Horse Sponge that holds a ton of water to make big projects easier. For more information stop by or call at 508-693-9977.