The 153rd Agricultural Fair begins Thursday, August 21, always the highlight of the summer. The fairgrounds will be filled with exhibits and people, some familiar and some new this year. Welcome to the four-day event that brings everyone to West Tisbury.
Mike and I had a friend over for dinner last night, an otherwise urbane New Yorker, who surprised us by his childlike enthusiasm for all the things he loves about living on the Island in the summer. “I love the Fair, I love Illumination Night, I love the fireworks.” This is the week it all happens, the culmination of planning and anticipation. Enjoy it all.
Valerie Sonnenthal sent me a link to fabulous photographs taken by a visitor from England, Charles Saumarez Smith. The gardens, flowers, and produce are gorgeous, all taken on a visit with Bob Skydell at Fiddlehead Farm. Best was the two gentlemen posing in an America Gothic tableau, complete with pitchfork.The link is:charlessaumarezsmith.com/2014/07/27/fiddlehead-farm/. Bob has also announced the publication of his first ever newsletter, The Fiddlehead Farmer, available at the farm stand.
If you take any time off from fair-going, the West Tisbury Library has things happening this week. Jennifer Tseng and Susan Choi will read from their new books this Saturday, August 23, at 4 pm. Jennifer, one of the faces at the Circulation Desk, is an accomplished poet. She is now writing her first novel, “Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness.” The book will be released next June. It tells the story of a librarian “who’s up to no good.” Sounds intriguing.
Susan Choi is the author of four novels. Her first, “The Foreign Student,” won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, “American Woman,”was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. “A Person of Interest” was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her most recent novel, “My Education,”received a 2014 Lammy Award.
The last Monday Night Movie of August begins at 6:30 in the library’s program room. The movie and popcorn are free. A video collaboration by Fanny Howe and Maceo Senna, “Outremer,”is the first film, based on a poem of the same name by Fanny Howe. She will read from her new book of poems, “Second Childhood.”Chapters 1 and 2 of P.S. Beirut by Michael Shamberg is the second documentary.
Honor Moore will read and answer questions about her books on Thursday, August 28, at 5 pm. She is the author of a biography, “The White Blackbird, A Life of the Painter Margarett Sargent,”a memoir, “The Bishop’s Daughter,”and three collections of poetry.
Martha Hubbell will teach a Cornhusk Doll workshop for kids aged nine and up at the Library on Wednesday, August 27, 11 to 1.
At 4:30 that afternoon is the Friends of the West Tisbury Library annual meeting. Everyone is welcome to come, learn about the organization, express your opinions and thoughts, and enjoy always-delicious refreshments.
The Library is looking for volunteers for a newly-formed Library Art Committee. Beth Kramer describes it as follows: “The objective of this committee will be to create a diverse collection, of high artistic merit, that will engage the public, complement the Library facility and elevate the library’s contribution to the community.” Contact Beth if you are interested. firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-693-3366.
There are always people standing in front of the library reading the bricks along our walk. If you would like one, or more, of your own, contact Wendy Nierenberg of the West Tisbury Library Foundation at 508-693-0800 or ask at the library. Bricks are $150 each.
Pam Thors of the Community Preservation Committee wants to invite town residents to a public forum at the Howes House next Wednesday, August 27, 7–8 pm. There is $740,000 available, so come and offer your ideas for projects.
Brooks Robards and I are reading from our book of poems and paintings, “On Island,”at the Aquinnah Town Hall, across from the library, at 5:30 on Thursday, August 28.
I have finally walked on the beach, the first time this summer. I always wonder where the time goes. There were years when Ellen Weiss, Brooks Robards, Mary Beth Norton, Talley and I met every Tuesday morning to walk and look at birds and waves, to talk about our days and our projects, to feel sun and water.
It was a beautiful morning, just the kind of perfect beach day one dreams of in the middle of February. Will we do it again? Maybe after the Fair. Maybe after a group of houseguests leaves or after an appointment off Island. It’s so easy to be busy with other things.
Mary Beth has become an avid bird-watcher. She gave a wonderful lesson about migration as we watched sanderlings peck away at the sand, eating to gain weight for their journey. She explained about osprey, too, the variations in migration of adult or juvenile osprey. There is Rob Bierregaard’s website called OspreyTrax, that tracks osprey and tells their stories, all images made available with GPS devices, sent daily to your inbox. A winter’s occupation.