Tisbury town picnic ended holiday weekend on a bright note

Sunny weather was a welcome addition to the annual picnic. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

A rainy holiday weekend gave way to brilliant sunshine just in time for the Memorial Day picnic at the Tisbury Water Works on Monday.

Despite a slight chill in the air from a cool breeze, many Islanders dressed in their summer frocks, shorts, and flip-flops to herald the season to come. For some seasonal residents returning from Florida, however, it probably felt more like winter. They could be spotted in the crowd wearing fleece wear and jackets, as they caught up with Island friends they haven’t seen in several months.

Over the course of four hours, several hundred Islanders enjoyed the traditional Memorial Day event run by Tisbury’s volunteer picnic committee. Folks enjoyed lunches that ranged from pizzas, gourmet noshes, and deli sandwiches brought from nearby eateries, to hot dogs, sausages, and hamburgers cooked on a grill by volunteers.

Music by the Flying Elbows, who were performing at their 32nd town picnic, inspired some impromptu dancing by both children and adults. Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel also crooned a few tunes. In his remarks to the audience between songs, Mr. Israel noted that a few days earlier, an algae bloom in the pond in front of the Spring Building had some people worried it would affect picnic activities.

“But then the ‘Great Spirit’ sent some rain over the weekend and cleared it all out,” Mr. Israel said.

With the water returned to normal hues, picnic-goers enjoyed rowboat rides around the pond and children were led on pony rides along its shore. There were organized games for kids, as well, and lots of colored chalk for sidewalk artists.

Three alpacas on loan from Barbara Ronchetti, owner of Island Alpaca Company of Martha’s Vineyard, endured a couple of hours of children’s loving attentions with patience and good nature.

Picnic co-chairman Lorraine Wells and her husband, Jim Pringle, dished out scoops of birthday cake flavored ice cream purchased by the picnic committee from Island Cove Mini-Golf at a generous discount.

Stop & Shop provided watermelons, Cronig’s donated hot dogs, and Cash and Carry supplied a portable freezer. Seaside Celebrations provided a tent to keep picnic committee co-chairman Denys Wortman and members Jim Pringle and selectman Jonathan Snyder out of the sun while they cooked over a hot grill. Marilyn Wortman pitched in from the sidelines to cut up watermelon.

The Vineyard Transit Authority also contributed to the event, with free rides for picnic-goers from Vineyard Haven to the Tashmoo overlook.

Ms. Wells said the Tisbury picnic committee could use a few more hands and is seeking some new volunteers. In addition to helping out at the picnic, the job involves only two meetings a year. Call 508-693-4202 for more information.