by -

Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Network (MVWN) will host their annual social networking evening tonight, Sept. 22, from 6 to 7:30 pm at Trio (called Black Sheep during daytime hours) on North Summer Street in Edgartown. The cocktail gathering features a talk by international branding expert Bill Engler, who will include in his presentation seven steps to building your brand. Light fare and cash bar will be available, and admission is free. Open to all.

by -
Last year's Tivoli Day. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Watch the Weekly Update video for top headlines and not-to-be-missed weekend events.

More details on upcoming events:

Pancake Breakfast

Beginning at 8 am on Saturday, United Methodist Church of MV will serve breakfast of champions, including bacon, eggs, pancakes and sausages. $8 for adults and $5 for kids. All proceeds will go to support the Boston Avon Breast Cancer Walk.

Tivoli Day

On Saturday, from 11 am to 6 pm, Circuit Avenue will become a pedestrian walkway for this annual street festival. At 4:30, the first ever Brass Ring Challenge will take place at the Flying Horses carousel. See who can grab the most number of rings during the carousel ride and support the Jena Pothier Flying Horses Scholarship Fund. The fund was set up in memory of Jena Pothier who died in a car crash two years ago.

Martha’s Vineyard Museum

Shephard Fine Artspace in Oak Bluffs will host this year’s You Can’t Spell “mARTha’s Vineyard” without A-R-T Party. Chat and dine with local artists, such as Traeger DiPietro, Paul Karasik, Meg Mercier, Lucy Mitchell, Andrew Moore, Alison Shaw, Kara Taylor, Kenneth Vincent, David Wallis, Allen Whiting, Rez Williams and Marsha Winsryg. Contact the Museum to reserve your spot.

Lola’s Pajama Party

Close out the summer season in comfy style. Lola’s Restaurant invites everyone to come out for its end of the season party in their favorite pajama’s. Saturday night, they will serve buffet dinner from 8 to 10 pm, and afterward, DJ Steve will spin until midnight.

Abstract Show

The fourth annual Abstract art show at Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven will stay open until September 27th.

Ballroom Sundays

Every Sunday, learn how to dance at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center. Lessons begin at 6 pm.

Peking Palace Delivery

Peking Palace in Falmouth now delivers to Martha’s Vineyard. Call the restaurant to place your order, and they’ll bring the meal over on the Patriot boat at 2:30, 3:45 and 5 pm every weekday. This week’s Good Taste article has the details as well.

by -
Outdoor dining, sales, and live music are three major draws of Tivoli Day, this Saturday, Sept. 17. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

For the 34th year in a row, Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs will host a laid back summer’s end street party. An established Island tradition, Tivoli Day is a chance to enjoy a post-season gathering, take advantage of end-of-season sales, check out local bands in a family friendly setting, engage in children’s activities, and dine outdoors on food from some of Oak Bluffs’ most popular restaurants.

Dennis daRosa, president of the Tivoli Day sponsoring organization, the Oak Bluffs Association (OBA), says, “Tivoli Day was always meant to be an event that brings not only the visitors but the year-rounders out at the end of summer to say hello to friends they haven’t seen during the busy season, and to take a breather at the end of summer.

“It’s a relaxing day. Without the summer traffic, it’s not too crowded, and people have more time to maybe spend the day shopping, eating, and dancing. There’s a sense of freedom. Kids can run around without worrying about traffic. It’s just a nice day for locals and a boost for local businesses.”

This year, for the first time, Tivoli Day will honor a long-time resident who has exhibited, through tireless work and dedication, an enduring love for the town. It’s a first-ever honor: the day will be dedicated to Renee Balter, who was one of the founders of the OBA.

Ms. Balter has officially retired from the organization, which she served from 1991 until this year. She was the organization’s first president and most recently served as vice president.

“She’s just been a terrific force in the community,” Mr. daRosa says, “not only with the OBA, but with the town and other nonprofits. She’s a truly selfless person who loves Oak Bluffs and should be recognized.”

Jena’s Ring Challenge

There will be two other new additions to the Tivoli Day festivities this year. The landmark Flying Horses carousel will be the scene of a benefit ring-catching challenge. Competitors in four age groups will see who can grab the most rings during a ride. All entrants will receive a commemorative brass ring. The ticket sales will support the Jena Pothier Flying Horses Scholarship Fund. Ms. Pothier, who worked summers at the Flying Horses as a young girl, died in a car accident in June 2009.

Horses, Wheelmen, and more

An earthbound horse — of the mini-variety — will be the other new Tivoli Day attraction. Lori Clements of Vineyard Miniature Horse Rescue will bring one of the mini-horses to the celebration, for petting and possibly pony rides. Among other kid-friendly activities, the popular rock climbing wall will be back this year.

Once again, members of the Wheelmen organization will be on hand. They will display a number of the peculiar looking “penny farthings” cycles, so named because of the disproportionate size of the wheels, which corresponds to the different sizes of the old British coins.

The Tivoli Day festivities start at 11 am and continue until 6 pm. About 70 shops, vendors, and nonprofits will be set up on the street, and Circuit Avenue restaurants Sharky’s, Deons, Seasons, and Sai Mai Thai Cuisine will feature outdoor dining.

Musicians will set up at two locations — at the edge of Post Office Square and at the top of Circuit Avenue near the Union Chapel. Participating bands include Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, the Rick Bausman Band, Ballywho, and Syndicate. Johnny Showtime will also host karaoke in front of Seasons.

Tivoli Day is one of several community-building initiatives sponsored by the OBA. The business organization launched the Harbor Festival during their inaugural year, began the Summer Solstice celebration six years ago, and expanded the annual December Oak Bluffs tree lighting celebration. The organization is also responsible for installing and maintaining the Oak Bluffs information booth at the bottom of Circuit Avenue, and they produce and distribute an Island map, creating revenue that helps to fund the annual Oak Bluffs fireworks.

Renee Balter

Ms. Balter was instrumental in all of these undertakings and talks enthusiastically about the work of the OBA. She stresses that the organization represents the interests of the entire community, not just local businesses. “The OBA is not a chamber of commerce or a strictly business organization,” Ms. Balter says. “We were very careful to craft a mission statement to bring together people in the community with the business community. I wanted people to understand how the two factions could operate in a mutually beneficial way.”

Ms. Balter and her husband Bruce have owned and operated Titticut Follies, a small guesthouse on Pequot Avenue, since 1981.

She calls the guesthouse “fun.” “That is so much fun. It’s almost like having an extended family. We’re now housing a third generation of returning guests,” she says.

Ms. Balter is also an artist whose striking depictions of Oak Bluffs scenes have been featured in Cousen Rose Gallery, Dragonfly Gallery, and the Red Mannequin boutique. Her work has been on display at the Carousel branch of the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank all summer and will move to the Uncas Avenue branch at the end of September. She says she looks forward to devoting more time to her family and her artistic pursuits.

“I’ve been involved for 20 years, and I have put my artwork on the shelf for a long time,” she says. “We’re building a new house. I’m going to have a bona fide studio, and I have to justify its existence.”

Still, she insists that she will be active with the OBA and will continue serving on both Cottage City Historic District Commission and the Oak Bluffs Community Development Committee.

“I’ll always help out with the OBA,” she says. “It’s just time for other people to step forward and participate a little bit more. I have a habit of volunteering way over my head. I just need to refocus and spend time with my family and my artwork, things that I’ve neglected over the years.”

Gwyn McAllister, a regular contributor to The Times, lives in Oak Bluffs.

by -
— File photo by Susan Safford

Richard Skidmore, one of the organizers of the upcoming Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week, is excited to have the opportunity to spotlight some of the unique styles that help to define Vineyard fashion. “The Vineyard is a creative place, and anyone who is creative — meaning they’re expressing themselves through some medium — that creative spirit is also embodied in their personal style.”

Vineyard style will be front and center starting on Monday, Sept. 19, as a week-long series of events will include fashion shows, fashion-themed nights at bars, and trunk shows, with all proceeds benefitting Angel Flights New England.

The main event, a gala party on Saturday night, Sept. 24, at Dreamland (above the M.V. Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs) will cap off the week of fashion and feature what the organizers are calling the Designers Collection. Included in a full scale fashion show, complete with runway, will be a number of Island designers and boutiques. Said Fashion Week founder and co-organizer Trena Morrison, “I’m ecstatic about the range and variety of designers we have — swimsuits, contemporary, Victorian. We have young designers. It’s just a really nice range of people and talent.”

As many as 70 local models will participate in fashion shows throughout the week. Mr. Skidmore noted that the models will represent a broad spectrum, including “short, tall, all shapes and sizes, all ages, all beautiful, and there will be a scattering of men for the ladies as well.”

Fashion Week will kick off on Monday, Sept. 19, with an opening party at The Grill on Main in Edgartown. There will be a cash bar and passed hors d’oeuvres starting at 7 pm. Guests will get a chance to mingle with Fashion Week designers and organizers, and there will be a silent auction. The evening is a Dine to Donate event, in which part of the restaurant’s proceeds will go to Angel Flight NE.

Wednesday’s spotlight event, to be held at the Sandbar and Grill on the Oak Bluffs harbor, is the End the Summer in Style party. The evening will feature a fashion show, dancing to music by DJ Di, and a LBD (little black dress) dress code. Admission is $10; $20 for premium seating, and the event is from 5 to 9 pm.

The other scheduled events will all take place during the day at stores throughout the Island. On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Bananas in West Tisbury will host An Afternoon of Accessories featuring designer shoes, scarves, hats, bags, belts, and more. The first 15 guests will receive a gift bag, and refreshments will be served.

Trunk shows on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Sept. 21 through 23, will round out the week. On Wed. b*tru on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs will feature Rebeccah J. leather goods. The Green Room in Vineyard Haven will host Tom’s Trunkshow on Thursday and a Barbour Trunkshow on Friday.

The Designers Collection that will grace the runway for Saturday’s Fashion Week finale will include looks by Karen Rusillo, owner of Menagerie; Chrysal Parrot, whose boutique Demi Monde just opened last month in Vineyard Haven; and two design teams — Chelsea Phaneuf and Rose Maidoff, and Marlene DiStefano and Randi Sylvia. Local stores will also participate, including PIKNIK Art and Apparel, Hannah B, and On Kennebec. After the runway show at the upstairs Dreamland space, the party will continue downstairs at the M.V. Chowder Company with DJ music.

Mr. Skidmore noted that the Island is becoming more of a haven for fashion designers than ever before. Commenting on the concentration in Vineyard Haven of designer boutiques, he said, “Vineyard Haven seems to be fashion central for people who want original designer clothing.” He sees the arrival of new designers as a trend that will continue. “I think the Island will become more fashion conscious as we see more designers. I see a real blossoming here.”

Angel Flight NE will be the beneficiary of all Fashion Week proceeds. The organization provides free flights to children and adults in need of critical medical care who do not have the resources to access other means of transportation. In their 15 years in operation, Angel Flight’s pilots have flown 5,400 flights for Martha’s Vineyard residents.

In a press release, president and founder of Angel Flight NE, Larry Camerlin, said, “We are truly honored that MV Fashion Week have chosen to support our mission by hosting this benefit event. Their generosity only further supports our efforts for the residents of Martha’s Vineyard.”

Mr. Skidmore also noted that as well as providing funding for a worthy organization, the mission of Fashion Week is two-fold — to spotlight both new and established Island designers, as well as local clothing stores, and to bring a bit of glamour to the Island. “We’re really excited to give people on the Island the opportunity to get into their closets and pull out their best dress-up and see other people in their finest.”

Of the timing of the event, Mr. Skidmore said, “We believe that the shoulder season is a really strong time for people who are coming here. They’re here for the culture, for the place itself. Visitors in the shoulder season are responsive to the Island style because they’re looking for the way of life rather than the beach.”

For more information and a schedule of events, visit

by -
— File photo by Susan Safford

The Kids Mini-Derby is Sunday, Sept. 18, from 6 to 9 am, at the Oak Bluffs Steamship pier. No casting skill is required and a simple fishing rod will suffice. Simply bait a weighted hook with a piece of squid or sand eel and drop it to the bottom where, with luck, a hungry scup or sea robin lies in wait.

The mini-derby is strictly for kids old enough to hold and reel a fishing rod, through age 14. It is the one and only time fishing is allowed from the pier. The event is free, and open to all kids.

by -

Fair posters available

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society 2011 Fair posters, designed by Jivonne Alley, have been reprinted. If you would like a poster mailed to you, send a check for $20 payable to MVAS, P.O. Box 73, West Tisbury, MA 02575. If you would rather pick one up, call 508-693-4343 to arrange a day and time.

by -
The Extraordinary Rendition Band, with trumpeter Jessica Brown and Melanie Clark-Medyesy on the piccolo, led paraders down Circuit Avenue. — Photo by MC Wallo

Washington Park, next to Our Market in Oak Bluffs, was the scene last Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, of a relaxed music festival, which segued into a nighttime party at the Lampost on Circuit Avenue.

As of 3 pm, people started gathering in the park where a handful of vendors sold clothes, jewelry, and miscellany, and the popular Irie Bites truck did a brisk business in their Jamaican specialties. Under a tent towards the back of the park, people were given the opportunity to try their skill at hula hooping.

People — and a few dogs — relaxed on the grass to enjoy performances by a good sampling of local musicians. The second annual Best Fest, a fundraiser for WVVY radio, was put together by Rob Myers, who plays in a number of local bands and is also a DJ and board member for WVVY.

Nancy Jephcote and Paul Thurlow led off the lineup of acoustic musicians, which included Rick O’Gorman, Nina Violet, Marciana Jones, The Kahoots, The Taxidermists, and The Beatles cover band The Daytrippers. Twelve-year-old singer/songwriter Nate D’Angelo performed a song of his own, which was well received by the audience.

A 20-piece brass band from Providence, the Extraordinary Rendtion Band, made appearances throughout the day. They marched around the field wearing a variety of fun red and white costumes and made for a colorful, rag-tag, energetic outfit. The band later led a mini parade from The Flying Horses to Post Office Square and marched the crowd into The Lampost where the festival’s louder, electrically enhanced bands performed from around 9 pm to 1 am.

At The Lampost, festival-goers enjoyed music by Dunemoor (members of the Extraordinary Rendition Band), Auntie Em and the Bedspins, Eric Luening and the Lunatics, Mercy Beat, Ol’ Tucker and the Blind Willies, and Good Night Louise. Music from DJs Irie Bomber, Island Thunder, and DJ Cartel kept the party going until closing time.

The festival raised around $1,000 through the $5 entry fee to The Lampost and donations. Mr. Myers says of the daylong festival, “It exceeeded my expectations. Last year was really great and we knew we had a good idea on our hands and we could build on it.” He adds, “The town of Oak Bluffs was really great to work with.”

WVVY fundraiser Thursday

There is another fundraiser for WVVY this Thursday, Sept. 15, at Flatbread Company at Nectar’s. A portion of pizza sales from 5 to 9 pm benefits the radio station, as well as a silent art auction, featuring art from Traeger diPietro, Mikey Rottman, Rocco Vitelle, Darcie Lee Hanaway, Maury de Geofroy, jewelry by Jamie Rogers and Alexandra Rothwell, and many more.

by -
— Photo by Yoojin Cho

Watch the video for a quick overview of what’s going on this weekend on Martha’s Vineyard and some news stories we covered.

Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival starts tonight with the opening night reception at Saltwater in Vineyard Haven. The weekend-long event will feature 25 films from many different countries. More information here.

MV Dems Monthly Meeting is this Saturday at 9 am at Howes House in West Tisbury. Massachusetts State Senator Dan Wolf will talk about his efforts for MV Dems and answer questions.

At North Water Gallery in Edgartown, Photographer Michael Kahn will talk about his photography at 3 pm.

Alison Shaw Gallery‘s last opening of the season is this Saturday, September 10th, from 4 to 7pm.

On Sunday, the Island community and all emergency medical service and law enforcement personnel are invited to attend a ceremony to commemorate the events of September 11, 2001. The ceremony will take place at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven. Everyone should arrive at 8:30 am, and members of Martha’s Vineyard Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will start the event at 8:40 by leading everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

by -

Songs for my Father

Mezzo soprano opera singer Lia Kahler-Littlefield and pianist Richard Gordon will present a benefit concert on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 11, called Songs for my Father, featuring songs and arias about flowers, plants, and animals. The concert, along with a silent auction, will be held at the Old Whaling Church and will benefit Polly Hill Arboretum and the Martha’s Vineyard Animal Shelter.

Says Ms. Kahler-Littlefield in a press release, “I want to celebrate the bond between people and nature as expressed in the caring for land and animals.”

Ms. Kahler-Littlefield is dedicating the concert to her father, the late Albert Littlefield, who grew up on a farm on the land that now houses the Arboretum. The show is on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 3 pm. A silent auction opens at 2, and a reception follows the concert. Tickets are $15, $10 for seniors and students and are available at the Polly Hill Arboretum Visitor Center, at, and at the door.

Local author Paul MagidA new biography about a Civil War officer and Indian fighter who spent his last years speaking out against the unjust treatment of his former Native American adversaries will be featured in an author talk at the West Tisbury Library next Thursday.

Local author Paul Magid will read from his book, the first of three volumes, “George Crook, From the Red Woods to Appomattox,” followed by a brief Q&A on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 5 pm. Mr. Magid has been working on the book since he retired 10 years ago from a 30-year career in government/international grassroots development, according to a press release from the West Tisbury Library.

Refreshments will be served. For more information, call the library at 508-693-3366.

Showtunes to Chopin

An Island legend, pianist David Crohan will perform his final concert of the season on Saturday at the Union Chapel. The show, entitled Showtunes to Chopin, will display Mr. Crohan’s versatility.

Blind from birth, Mr. Crohan spent 20 years playing regularly at the Island House, which he owned and operated as David’s Island House from 1978 to 1997. Mr. Crohan has earned acclaim as a pianist and vocalist for his appearances in Boston, Palm Beach, and here, and is a much loved and admired Vineyard figure whose mix of classical jazz and standards has earned him a large and loyal following.

Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 pm. Union Chapel, Oak Bluffs, $20.