Tisbury Street Fair is an annual summer treat

A crowd of people enjoyed the 41st annual Tisbury Street Fair. — Photo by Gail Daman

Bathed in the late Sunday afternoon summer light, Islanders and visitors flooded Main Street in Vineyard Haven for the 41st annual Tisbury Street Fair. The crowd came to enjoy a taste of Vineyard Haven’s shopping, cuisine, and entertainment. They came to see and be seen.

Although both merchants and fairgoers noted that the fair was slightly less crowded than usual, many vendors were pleased with their sales. Tom Collins, a private chef, was selling what was left of his seventh and last batch of jambalaya around 9 pm. “You’ve got to people watch,” Mr. Collins said of the fair.

Sitting behind a table made for better people watching, Jessica Buckley was selling raffle tickets to raise money for the Tisbury School’s fifth-grade trip on the Shenandoah. “I like watching the kids watch the other kids,” she said with a wink.

And there certainly were kids to watch Sunday night. Jazzed up on cotton candy, little boys climbed the Island Cove Adventure’s rock wall like Spiderman. Close-by, a caricature artist drew a yellow giraffe under his portrait of a bashful little girl in a yellow dress. Up the street, another little girl rode a real pony.

Noah Garcia, 10, of Vineyard Haven, was one of many pranksters at the fair. His specialty was the “bomb bags,” which make a loud pop. Exiting Mardell’s Gift Shop with 12 bags, Noah said he had bought 24 total so far. “It’s fun to see people’s faces,” he said, “They think it’s a big thing, and it’s just a little air.”

The sporadic sound of bomb bags added its own percussion to the mix of melodies from artists that included the Twelve Tribes, the Vineyard Sound, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, and the Gravikord Duo. The latter featured an electric double harp that musician Bob Grawi said he invented. He preformed both intricate original songs and classic folk tunes, with his wife Pip Klein on flute and son Ben on the drum.

Taking a break from her performance to sample some strawberry shortcake, Ms. Klein said of the Street Fair, “It’s not every night you can go out on the street and have fun like this.”

Many fairgoers found it reassuring that the event has occurred annually, without much change, since 1971.

Geneva Monks, working the table for the Vineyard Playhouse where she is a box office manager, said that each year she looks forward to squeezed lemonade from the United Methodist Church stand and the sales at the Green Room. Ms. Monks summed up a sentiment often repeated throughout the night. “The Street Fair is always similar,” she said, “But it’s a good similar.”