On Saturday, August 27, from 12 to 7 pm, Featherstone Center for the Arts will host the Vineyard VincyFest, a celebration of the historic relationship between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Martha’s Vineyard. The festivities will include a carnival parade, art and fashion exhibits, a steel band, Garifuna and Wampanoag exhibits, traditional foods, boatbuilding activities, and a raffle to win a trip for two to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The event is free and open to the public.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Martha’s Vineyard enjoy a little-known but long and historic relationship. In the early 1800s, New England’s whaling ships, including those from Martha’s Vineyard, traveled to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to hunt whales for their oil. Ships’ crews would exchange goods and share knowledge with Vincentian whalers and boatbuilders. The relationship fostered by whaling flourished until the industry collapsed in the 1870s, but the connection has continued to the present day through boatbuilding, tourism, and research into the migration of the humpback whale.
In 2014, an agreement between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dukes County formalized this unique relationship. The Sister Island program is built on diplomatic initiatives and West Tisbury resident Anita Botti’s longstanding personal relationship with St. Vincent and the State Department. The partnership seeks to broaden existing linkages through supporting exchanges and collaborative activities between the two islands.