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— Ralph Stewart

Thursday, October 6

Pandora’s Box 1/2 off everything night party: 5:30-9:30 pm in Menemsha.

Friday, October 7

Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Festival: Friday – Sunday, 3-day yoga festival. Classes held at Beach Plum Inn and Chilmark Community Center. More information here.

Art of Chocolate Party: At Featherstone Center for Arts. Preview party on Friday from 7 to 9 pm. Tasting on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 pm. More information here.

Saturday, October 8

Family Fun Day at Middletown Nursey: 10 am – 2 pm. Pumpkin carving, pony rides and refreshments. Free. 680 State Rd. West Tisbury, 508-696-7600.

Spaghetti Dinner: From 5:30 to 8 pm at Oak Bluffs Senior Center. $12 adults; $10 with race registration; $6 kids (13-under). Chef John Petrosinelli will be cooking up a sumptous spaghetti dinner, garlic bread & salad. All proceeeds benefit Vineyard House, a non-profit organization that provides support to islanders in the early stages of recovery.

Sunday, October 9

Fiddlehead Farm Stand Annual Fall Celebration and End of Season Sale: 9 am to 6 pm, fun for the whole family. Cider Pressing and live music starts at 11 am.

The 22nd Annual Oak Bluffs Columbus Day 5K Road Race & 1 Mile Fun Run: Registration is at Wesley Hotel. Fun Run begins at 10:30 am. Road Race begins at 11 am.

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Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, begins Friday evening, October 7, at sundown. It lasts until sunset on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven begins services with the Kol Nidre, a declaration recited before the beginning of the evening service, on Friday at 5:30 pm. Saturday’s Morning Service is from 9:30 am to 1 pm, the Yizkor Service 4:30 to 5 pm, and the afternoon service at 5 pm.

For more information, call 508-693-0745 or visit

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— Photo courtesy of Curves

Curves in Vineyard Haven, a veteran host of Zumbathons, offers another on Monday, October 10. It’s a breast cancer research fundraiser. Party in Pink, from 11 am to 12:30 pm, for $5. All proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. Call 508-696-3030.

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Kelly Morris – "New York's most popular teacher" according to New York Magazine – is one of many instructors at this weekend's M.V. Yoga Festival. — Photo courtesy of Kelly Morris

The second annual Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Festival kicks off on Friday, October 7, at 8:45 am, with a power hour class taught by the festival’s founder, Kathy Bega.

For the second year running, the Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark will host the festival, where off-Island participants can stay and most classes will take place.

Ms. Bega and her “integral helper,” Mollie Doyle, have been working hard to bring yoga teachers and alternative health professionals from a wide range of backgrounds together to share their wisdom and practices. Local favorites as well as internationally renowned instructors will be represented at the festival, providing a well-rounded schedule where you can, according to Ms. Doyle, “sweat your butt off,” or relax and restore.

Some highly anticipated instructors include Barbara Verrochi and Kristin Leigh of the Shala in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Kelly Morris of Conquering Lion Yoga, also in New York City.

Ms. Verrochi and Ms. Leigh are former students of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, a system intended to synchronize breath and movement by combining an athletic series of poses with Ujayi breathing – a class sure to get your heart pumping. The duo is co-teaching two two-hour workshops on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9, from 10 am to 12 noon at the Chilmark Community Center.

Ms. Morris is one of five senior instructors of the Jivamukti practice and a one-time cover girl of New York Magazine, which touted her “New York’s most popular teacher.” Jivamukti yoga has roots in Ashtanga; it’s a guaranteed good workout but places special emphasis on yoga philosophy and how it can be applied to daily life. Ms. Morris will teach to live music from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday, also at the Chilmark Community Center.

For a restorative experience, “slow flow” classes will be held in the afternoons. Check out Vanessa Kent’s Mommy, Daddy and Me class for yogis age eight and up, on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3 pm.

The festival also has activities including morning beach meditation and evening Kirtan (call and response chanting that doesn’t require any experience, just some gusto). On Friday night from 6 to 8 pm, check out the yoga clothes trunk show at the Beach Plum Inn. Hyde Organic and Yoga Mat clothing will be featured at a fraction of its retail cost.

Island chiropractor Dardy Slavin will speak Sunday about chiropractic work and how it can work in conjunction with yoga. This lecture will focus on hormones and their role in pregnancy, miscarriage, and menopause. Massage and acupuncture appointments are available throughout the weekend as well.

This is an exciting opportunity for Island yogis to learn something new from knowledgeable, talented instructors and to experience their favorite teachers in a new setting.

“Everyone who does yoga should come, the more people the better,” Ms. Doyle says.

If you are already signed up and want to plan your weekend, check out for schedule information. If you haven’t signed up yet, call Kathy Bega at 508-274-4682, or visit the website for details. Tickets are available at as well. Tickets are available for half-day, full day, and three-day passes. Ms. Doyle and Ms. Bega are looking for volunteers for half-day shifts, in exchange for a half-day of yoga. Contact Ms. Bega if you are interested. And, get your yoga on.

See and try all things chocolate this weekend at Featherstone's Art of Chocolate Festival. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Featherstone ups the “kid in a candy shop” metaphor a few notches with this weekend’s Art of Chocolate Festival. Imagine walking into a space where every turn of the head reveals another sublime chocolate treat — chocolate in every imaginable, delectable form, and you get an idea of what the very popular annual event is like.

The eighth annual Art of Chocolate festival features a Friday night preview party — where you can enjoy the dream-come-true experience of sampling everything your heart desires — and Saturday and Sunday afternoon pay-as-you-taste events. The Saturday Art Adventure for kids this weekend will be a chocolate-themed art class where kids will help prepare chocolate goodies and create chocolate-themed paintings.

This year’s theme for the preview party is S’mores and More. An outdoor firepit will be the scene for constructing the gooey confections. Adding to the camping-out feel, Bruce McNally will play the guitar on the outside patio, where a bar will offer up chocolate martinis, champagne, and dessert wines, although true chocoholics know that chocolate is intoxicant enough.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoon, the chocolate fantasy world will be open from 12 noon to 4 pm. Guests can sample from a sundae bar and a chocolate fountain dipping station, along with displays of cakes, brownies, cookies, pastries, and hand-dipped chocolates donated by a number of local businesses. The attention grabber of the festival (along with the chocolate fountain) is an enormous multi-layered cake from Cakes by Liz.

Among the restaurants and caterers who will contribute goodies are Orange Peel Bakery (chocolate snails), The Scottish Bakehouse (gluten-free macaroons), Farm Neck Cafe (chocolate cake), and Slice of Life (chocolate mousse). New to the lineup this year are The Newes From America Pub, which will provide chocolate bread pudding with cherry ganache, and Kitchen Porch Caterers, who have a surprise in store.

Offering proof that art and chocolate go together, a number of Featherstone affiliated artists will, as usual, be whipping up their specialties for the event.

Washington Ledesma will once again serve up his famous rum-rich drunken cake. Other artists/bakers who will contribute to the chocolate cause are Kathy Rose (biscotti), Nancy Blank (chocolate-covered chestnuts), Marston Clough (truffles), Carl Mueller (chocolate crinkles), and Donna Blackburn (chocolate sauce).

For the chocolate purist, there will be plenty of homemade chocolate candy available. New Moon Magick will offer almond butter crunch, Dorothy Cox will provide her fabulous chocolate-covered cranberries, and Brenda Mastramonica of the renowned chocolatier Hilliard family will be on hand with a tempering and dipping demonstration. Chilmark Chocolates is closed right now, but Featherstone guests will have the opportunity to purchase some.

If you want to justify a visit to the festival with a learning experience that goes beyond comparing marshmallow toasting techniques, you can peruse cookbooks and books about chocolate, check out pictures of Mexican cocoa plantations and cranberry bogs, and view a display of artifacts from the early days of chocolate making. The photos and tools of the chocolate trade are from the collection of Jeanne and Malcolm Campbell, who provided the inspiration for the first chocolate festival.

Ms. Campbell’s father owned the former Van Leer Chocolate Company in Jersey City for many years. Mr. Campbell spent his career working for the company. Says Ms. Campbell, “It was a very family business. My father, brother, husband, two sons, and my brother’s two sons were all involved.” The Campbell’s daughter Jan worked for the company during summers off from college and eventually founded Chilmark Chocolates in 1984.

The Campbell’s always make a point of spending the weekend talking to people about their former business and discussing their travels over the years. The couple has visited chocolate factories all over Europe and, for years, they made regular trips to the international confection show in Düsseldorf, Germany.

“The chocolate world had been very good to us,” Ms. Campbell says. “The people who work in chocolate are proud of what they do and they enjoy it. And they make us enjoy it.”

The chocolate world has also been very good to Featherstone. The annual festival is hugely popular — 1,000 guests are expected this year — and all proceeds go towards funding the community arts center, which sponsors a variety of classes and hosts numerous summer events and a regular schedule of gallery exhibits throughout the year.

Says Featherstone director Ann Smith, “It is a fundraiser but it’s also meant to introduce new people to Featherstone. We have loyal followers who come every year but, since it’s on Columbus Day weekend, we also get new visitors.”

Art of Chocolate Festival Preview Party: S’Mores & More, Friday, Oct. 7, 7 to 9 pm. $50.

Saturday and Sunday, 12 noon–4 pm. Admission is free. $5 for two samples, $10 for three.

Saturday Art Adventure for kids: The Reason I Like Chocolate with Lani Carney, Oct. 8, from 9 am to 12 noon. For ages 3-8. $45. Pre-register: 508-693-1850.

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Wednesday, October 5

1:30 pm: Sing Along with Princess Poo-Poo-Ly Band with ukuleles & harmonicas at Tisbury Senior Center in Vineyard Haven. 508-696-4205.

3:15 – 5:45 pm: Each week is a differently themed Children’s Art class with Lani Carney. Pre-register: 508-693-1850;

4:30 – 6 pm: ACE MV Registration continues today at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

5 pm: Public forum on Federal Wind Energy Development at Howes House in West Tisbury. What can M.V. learn from other regions and what can they learn from us? 508-693-3453.

5:30 pm: Film screening at Chilmark Library. Watch “Sissinghurst,” a BBC documentary.

7 pm: Musical Poetry with Dan Waters and Michael West at Vineyard Haven Library. 508-696-4211.

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Living Local Harvest Festival

On Friday, September 30th, Our Vineyard Elders Reminisce program kicks off the festival at 6 pm at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. At this free event, Island elders will tell the stories from the past – Island traditions and the way of life. Storyteller Susan Klein will moderate discussions with Elisha Smith and Paul Jackson. Coffee & Desert will be served.

Then on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, the festival will feature live demonstrations on bee keeping, how to filet a fish, pumpkin carving and more. There will be live music and local food as well. Raid date is Sunday, October 2.

In the evening, potluck dinner will begin at 6 pm. Bring a dish for six and bring your own cups and place settings.

Grace Church Lobster Rolls

Last lobster rolls for a while… From 4 to 7:30 pm, Grace Church will serve lobster rolls, chips and a drink for $15.

French Pizza Night

Sponsored by Les Troubadours de Martha’s vineyard, the event offers pizza for $15 for individual and $50 for family. At the Orange Peel Bakery from 5 to 8 pm.

Electronics Disposal Day

From 9:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services will accept your old electronics, including but not limited to refrigeraters, televisions and washers. Fees are between $1.00 and $30.00. 111 Edgartown Road across from the high school.

Cycle Martha’s Vineyard

Ride around Martha’s Vineyard and help raise money for Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and other Rotary charities. The 100k route circuits the Island traveling along the Atlantic Ocean, Nantucket Sound and rolling farmland. The 50k route also offers breathtaking views of Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. All roads are paved.

Registration Fee: $100 and $90 for returning riders. $125 on Day of Ride and $115 for returning riders. Cash or check only.

Registration entitles rider to aid stations and assistance along the course, t-shirt and post-ride barbecue. This year’s post-ride barbecue is a pig roast with all the fixings.

Boston String Quartet

On Sunday, October 2, Boston String Quartet will play “WorldSong” at Chilmark Church, 9 Menemsha Crossroad. For tickets or for more information call 645-9471.

Winnetu Oceanside Resort

Through “Islanders Stay for Free” Program, pay for two dinners at Lure Grill on any Thursdays until October 13, 2011, and stay for free that night in a one-bedroom suite at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort.

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Members of the Renaissance House writers met with author Jessica B. Harris (right) this past Monday night, Sept. 26. — Photo by Lynn Christoffers

Thanks to the existence of two residency programs currently operating on the Vineyard, Islanders will get the chance to hear some of the country’s up-and-coming writers read from their work this weekend, and throughout the next month.

During September and October, a total of 20 writers from all over will participate in the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency, a program that allows writers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays, and screenplays to enjoy uninterrupted time focusing on their latest projects.

And during the course of the residency, in which writers are housed at the Point Way Inn in Edgartown, the Vineyard community will have the opportunity to meet the diverse group of writers and hear them read from their work. The second in a fall series of author readings will take place Thursday, Sept. 29, at the West Tisbury Library and the readings will continue every Thursday throughout the month of October.

Meanwhile, a summer artist’s residency is wrapping up its season with a reading on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, at which guests are invited to participate in an open mic after the scheduled authors. The Renaissance House Residency Program, based in Oak Bluffs, is run by Abigail McGrath whose mother, Helene West, and aunt, Dorothy West, were both Harlem Renaissance writers.

Renaissance House hosts writers as well as artists for one-week residencies from June to September and the attendees often participate in public readings. On Friday, three writers/performers will present their work – spoken word artist Storme Webber; solo performer, poet, and writer LeVan D. Hawkins; and poet and musician Dahlia Ross.

Justen Ahren, founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency, calls that enterprise “mutually beneficial” for the participants and the community. He says, “They’re [the residents] so grateful to be here and we’re so grateful to have them.”

Mr. Ahren, an accomplished poet, founded the M.V. Writers Residency in 2007. He was inspired by his own experience as part of a writer’s residency in Costa Rica in 2004. He says, “For me it was that unbroken time where I could live inside of my work 24 hours a day for 30 days. That was so helpful for my project.” Mr. Ahren was toying with the idea of establishing a Vineyard residency for about a year when, serendipitously, Claudia Miller, owner of the Point Way Inn, approached him. In 2005, Ms. Miller transformed the inn into a home for visiting artists. Actors, dancers, and others who perform during the Vineyard season were filling the inn during the summer months, but Ms. Miller wanted to expand the Artists Pointing the Way program into the shoulder season.

The first year the inn housed two writers during October. The next year there were five attendees and that number doubled in 2009. The program gained recognition during those formative years and now, Mr. Ahren notes, he receives hundreds of applications from all over the world. To accommodate the abundance of talent that has reached out to him, this year Mr. Ahren added a spring session and extended the fall residency into September. He says, “They can choose two weeks to a month. That’s a good amount of time to decompress from your life.”

Among those who have taken part in the residency are writers from Canada, Australia, England, Ireland, and India. The collective resume of the residency’s alums and current participants is impressive. There have been writers of bestselling novels – including one which was chosen as the Booklist Best Book of the Year, an award winning playwright, a staff writer for the Boston Globe Magazine, and writers whose work has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Mr. Ahren makes an effort to provide a mix for the public readings. Tonight’s featured writers will include Erin Kelley, a finalist for the Philippines most prestigious award for short fiction; Cara Hoffman, who just had her first novel published by Simon and Schuster this past spring; Sanderia Smith, whose first novel is about to be published; Ellen Goldstein, a poet whose work has been published in a number of publications and two anthologies; and Indian born Sweta Srivastava Vikram who covers many bases as a novelist, author, essayist, columnist, blogger, and two times Pushcart Prize nominated-poet.

Mr. Ahren has also been responsible for a number of other initiatives to bring visiting writers and poets to the Vineyard. Along with Fan Ogilvie, Mr. Ahren hosts the Summer Festival of Poetry at Featherstone, which has brought some of the most acclaimed poets in the country to Vineyard audiences. In March Mr. Ahren and Jennifer Tseng of the West Tisbury Library host a series of readings by members of the Fine Arts Work Center residency based in Provincetown. Says Mr. Ahren of the West Tisbury Library, which hosts a number of literary events throughout the year, “They’ve been very responsive to what we’re doing up there.”

Currently Featherstone sponsors the M.V. Writers Residency. Writers pay a nominal fee for the rooms at the inn. Mr. Ahren is in the process of attaining nonprofit status and hoping to eventually raise some scholarship money.

Mr. Ahren, who runs the program as an unpaid volunteer, is reaping other rewards from his efforts. He says of the residency, “I did this for selfish reasons. I wanted to have a community of writers but I never imagined I would get so much from it. I get to meet 20 really creative intelligent, amazing people.”

Gwyn McAllister, of Oak Bluffs, is a regular contributor to The Times.

Fall Reading Series with M.V. Writers Residency, Thursday, Sept. 29, 5:30 pm, West Tisbury Library. Continues Thursdays through Oct. 27.

Renaissance House Writers Reading, Friday, Sept. 30, 8 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre, Vineyard Haven.

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At last year's Living Local Harvest Festival, Tristan Scott (left), Owen DiBasio, and Harper Hearn worked at the pumpkin carving station. This year's festival is Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. — File photo by Randi Baird

Vineyarders love a down-home outdoor celebration and to our way of thinking the annual Living Local Harvest Festival coming up this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, in West Tisbury, is one of the best. Set at summer’s end, it offers residents and visitors a relaxing chance to gather with friends and neighbors and re-connect with some of the essential things that make the Vineyard a great place to live. Better yet, it’s all for free.

“It’s a combination of fun and education,” said Nevette Previd, coordinator for the event with sponsoring organizations the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, Vineyard Conservation Society (VCS), Island Grown Initiative (IGI), and the Vineyard Energy Project (VEP). “It’s a sigh of relief. The season has passed, the crowds have gone. It’s a real local event. It’s all about the Island.

“The Vineyard has always had the juxtaposition of the pretty and perfect with the rustic and wild,” she added. “This festival aims to celebrate all of it.”

Ms. Previd stressed that a large number of organizations, supporters, and volunteers have joined together to make the festival possible.

Whether meandering around the Fairgrounds enjoying the early Autumn weather, feasting on locally grown and produced delicacies, browsing among informative exhibits, or learning new skills at hands-on demonstrations, festival goers will find more than enough to stay busy. The Martha’s Vineyard Horse Council’s Fall Fuzzy show will be underway in the ring. Nearby, the unmistakable sounds of engines whirring and sputtering will draw crowds to the Antique Power Show to see motors from tiny to huge, and a collection of beautifully restored vintage vehicles.

Friday evening’s dessert program, at the Grange Hall, offers an unusual opportunity to get a glimpse into traditional farming, fishing, hunting, and foraging ways with Island elders. Storyteller Susan Klein moderates the program with veteran dairy farmer Elisha Smith; gardener Paul Jackson; David Tilton, who will share fishing stories; and former chairman of the Wampanoag Tribe, Beverly Wright, who will talk about gathering.

Along with exhibits packed with useful information, hour-long demonstrations are the centerpiece of Saturday’s program inside the new Agricultural Hall. Learn to filet a fish from Warren Doty, or explore the secret of making soil-nourishing compost with winners of the Ag Fair’s composting competition. For the utmost in mouth-watering learning, Bill Manson (founder of the Wild Food Challenge) and chef Kevin Crowell (chef and co-owner of Détente) will prepare tempting gourmet dishes from wild and foraged food, and would-be beekeepers can gather tips from expert honey man and educator Everett Zurlinden and hear about IGI’s Bee School project.

Conservation groups have long urged property owners to forego suburban perfection in favor of an environmentally friendly “Vineyard lawn.” Native plant specialist Kris Henrikson will show how to avoid toxic fertilizers and pesticides and have a lawn that can be cheaper and easier to maintain than the manicured kind.

“This will help people get a picture of a different way we can tend to our property,” said demo organizer Tad Crawford.

Solving another mystery, the waste area sponsored by Bruno’s with information from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission will focus on “The Life of Trash,” what to do with it, where it goes. Organizers have set a Zero Waste goal for the event, challenging exhibitors, vendors, and visitors to leave disposables at home and eliminate trash.

Among the exhibits are interactive energy games with VEP, land conservation strategies and ideas from VCS. Live bees will buzz at the IGI booth where there will be information on the Island Grown Schools program.

Kids & edibles

Youngsters will have a heyday – literally – as they navigate the popular maze of bales, and that is only the beginning! There will be pumpkin carving, face painting, pony and carriage rides, sack races, the Camp Sassafras Fire Circle, and the thrilling sight of flying pumpkins hurled by Morning Glory Farm’s catapult.

An array of educational kid-friendly demos will entice grown ups too. Felix Neck shows how to prepare surprising wild edibles – imagine Autumn Olive Roll-Ups and Sumac Lemonade. Visitors can plant a seedling, play plant identification games, and help transform apples into cider using the old-fashioned press.

Melinda deFeo will set up shop at “The Tortilla Factory,” shucking and grinding corn then making fresh tortillas. “The Life of the Tomato” maps the succulent fruit’s journey from farm to table, contrasting local vs. industrial food production. Visitors can try their hands at felting, and learn some important differences between the natural and synthetic fibers wear.

Food lovers – and who isn’t? – will find the real best of the Vineyard right here. Choose among a variety of homemade soups and salads from local produce, baked treats, Island-raised meat burgers, and more. Hover near the Grand Tasting Table for samples of Island-made bread, honey, chocolates, freshly shucked oysters, and Mermaid Farm feta. And try some conch fritters by The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.

Saturday is topped off with a sumptuous community potluck supper and dancing. Bring a dish using at least one locally grown ingredient, plates and utensils to minimize waste, a big appetite, and plenty of energy to dance the evening away.

Living Local Harvest Festival Opening Night, 6–9 pm, Friday, Sept. 30, Grange Hall, West Tisbury. Hunting, Fishing, Farming & Gathering: Our Vineyard Elders Reminisce. Desserts served. Free.

Living Local Harvest Festival, 10 am–3 pm, Saturday, Oct. 1, Ag Hall, West Tisbury. Rain date: Oct. 2.

Living Local Harvest Festival Community Potluck, 6–10 pm, Saturday, Oct. 1, Ag Hall, West Tisbury.

Pat Waring of West Tisbury is a former Calendar editor at The Times.