Polly Hill welcomes summer

Polly Hill Arboretum scavenger hunt: Photo by Susan Safford
A scavenger hunt took solstice revelers all around the arboretum grounds, following clues and seeing fascinating botanical sights. Photos by Susan Safford

Posted June 22 , 2006

Four days early, the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury, got a jump on the season with a Summer Solstice Celebration on Saturday. There was an assortment of goodies offered throughout the day, such as a free membership sign-up, a tree give-away, and free food. The first 75 families to arrive at the celebration received a free plant, "Ruby Spice," a shrub native to Martha's Vineyard that is a nectar source for butterflies and bees.

Children were entertained by a scavenger hunt, which prompted them to locate different species of trees around the arboretum. Coco the clown frolicked about the fields, and lured the braver children to explore her suitcase of tricks and costumes.

In the Oak Grove picnic area, children were busy weaving colorful ribbons into floral crowns, or got a chance to do face-painting and other arts and crafts.

Vineyard Swordfish Dancers: Photo by Susan Safford
The Vineyard Swordfish Dancers performed several times during the four-hour festival. One of their dances from the Isle of Mann is called "Happy Jack."

Inside the barn, children and parents got comfortable on the hay-bale seats and watched a rotation of shows. The richly dressed MV Dance Theater troupe performed a few numbers, and the Spindrift Marionnette puppet theater acted out a Brazilian piece, "Toad and the Party in the Sky," which was narrated in English and Portuguese.

The Vineyard Swordfish Dancers performed at various locations in the arboretum, and also did a dance inside the barn, their foot-stomping to the music ringing out on the hard wooden floors.

The event, which over 400 people attended, was co-sponsored by Dukes County Savings Bank with a special thanks to Stop and Shop and Chilmark Spring Water.

For more information about upcoming events, call 508-693-9426 or visit www.pollyhillarboretum.org.