Re-raising the roof
Charlotte Packer gets a big lift from her father, John. Photos by Ralph Stewart
The storm had passed when a happy throng of Islanders finally gathered at the Agricultural Hall last Friday night for the 14th annual Barn Raiser's Ball. The crowd had been waiting to celebrate with homemade pies and dancing shoes since the previous Saturday after a last-minute cancellation due to the effects of hurricane Noel.
Dan and Jessica deBettencourt shared a dance.
"It was an example that with the proper spirit aimed in the right direction, a community can produce great results," commented Tom Osmers, a fisherman from West Tisbury. Excited kids were the first thing one saw or bumped into while entering the building. Fueled by an endless buffet of pies, brownies and chocolate chip cookies, children ran around long past their bedtimes while their parents and teachers socialized and danced the night away.
At the dessert table, Suzan Bellincampi, director of the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, displayed a plate of mini meringues baked with the help of her boyfriend, former Le Grenier chef Jean-Marc Dupon. Ms. Bellincampi, who recently acquired eight hens, used fresh eggs in her dessert and said proudly, "My chicken, my eggs."
"I brought a cranberry apple pie and a bottle of wine, which was gone in half a second," said Angelo DiMeglio, a carpenter from Oak Bluffs. "It's a nice event for the community to get together and celebrate hard volunteer labor."
"We used to have these all the time in the winter," said Chris Stein of West Tisbury. "It's a great way to see all the old folks."
"We were commenting about the fashion tonight," joked Jennifer Knight, a Pilates instructor in Vineyard Haven. "Really on the Vineyard anything goes." While she went for farmers' chic with a nice pair of cowboy boots, husband Stefan went for "sensitive new age redneck."
The dynamic crowd danced the night away.
John Armstrong, a lobsterman from Menemsha, danced all night with wife Barbara. "John loves the blues, he's a great dancer," said Barbara, while the musicians were packing up, "we try to come very year, it's fun, it's free, you eat dessert and dance off the calories."
"What a great show!" said Ms. Higgins as she hugged Mr. Hoy at the end of the night.
"And you were worried nobody was gonna come..." said Mr. Hoy.
"I'm always worried," said Ms. Higgins, as she explained that she would like to see some young blood like Beatrice Whiting and Emily Fischer join the Agricultural Society and take over the Barn Raisers' Ball. "It just feels wrong that grandparents are organizing a dance." Obviously, these grandparents still know how to throw a great party.
Amandine Surier is a contributing writer to The Times.