Things to Do

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The popular Gravitron ride will be back this year. — Ralph Stewart

“Very little has changed,” longtime Fair manager Eleanor Neubert said about this year’s highlights. “We’re keeping it the old-fashioned traditional country fair.”

But although much is pleasantly familiar, this 153rd Ag Fair offers some appealing new features too.

Racing-Lemurs
Racing pigs are popular at the fair, but how about racing lemurs?

Lemurs top the list for new and unusual attractions. Although the ever-popular Robinson’s Racing Pigs have sprinted away, these furry, long-tailed, big-eyed creatures are sure to win the hearts of Fairgoers.

Along with viewing six races daily, visitors may learn about the exotic Madagascar natives through Winners Circle Lemur Encounter educational exhibits. When not on tour, the lemurs live safely in Iowa at a private animal sanctuary.

Fair organizers believe that this is the first time lemurs have ever set foot on Martha’s Vineyard.

"Mr. Smoothie" and his wife Paula, shown outside the Grange during their early years at the Fair.
“Mr. Smoothie” Michael Youngman with his daughters, Candice and Castle, shown outside the Grange during his booth’s early years at the Fair.

Thousands of Vineyard Fair patrons have enjoyed refreshing and delicious fruit drinks blended by Michael Youngman at his Dancing Smoothies booth, served with a smile and classic rock ‘n’ roll tunes. After more than 30 years Mr. Youngman has decided to take a well-deserved rest from the fair circuit. But thanks to Mac Cook of Chilmark, “Mr. Smoothie” will go on!

This winter Mr. Youngman and his wife, Paula, contacted Mr. Cook, asking if he would be interested in taking over the popular booth. They became friends after decades at the Fair together, Mr. Cook at Bill Smith’s Martha’s Vineyard Clambakes booth, where he’s worked since 1977.

Mr. Cook and his brother, Roger, visited the Youngmans in Vermont to learn recipes and routines. Mr. Cook built a new booth, but the style is identical to the old one, with Beatles music, tie dye, and stuffed animals. He pledges the product will be exactly the same. Smoothie lovers can be assured that their favorite icy pineapple, banana, peach, strawberry treat awaits them.

“We’ll do it the same way we do the booth with Bill Smith gone,” Mr. Cook said. “We do it to honor him and in the spirit he did it for many years. We want it to be similar with Michael’s booth.”

Daredevil fans of scary rides will be thrilled to see that LMC Amusements has brought back the popular Gravitron after a several years’ absence. If that isn’t spine-tingling enough, the Zipper, new last year, will be back for more heart-stopping chills.

Chocoholics rejoice! Newest on the local midway is Enchanted Chocolates of Oak Bluffs, offering fudge, almond butter crunch, and even chocolate-covered frozen bananas. April Knight of Aunt Simone’s Caramel Apple Cake has added devilish chocolate cake to her menu.

The Tisbury School eighth grade is raising funds with the sale of watermelon, penny candy, and raffle tickets for tempting prizes.

New in 2013 and reviving an old-fashioned Fair tradition, the Tug-o-War will be held Sunday, Aug. 24, at 10:30 am. Last year, courageous Fair staff faced off against a hefty Morning Glory Farm team. Organizers are looking for more teams to join in, adding to the good times.

Melinda DeFeo has assumed responsibility for the Fiber Tent, organized for many years by Glenn Jackson. Though Mr. Jackson will be missed, Ms. DeFeo is sure to keep the tent lively and educational.

There are some new looks. The Livestock Barn boasts a reshingled roof thanks to Roy Riley. A new wooden fence surrounds the Show Ring, completed by Watercourse Construction. Barn Manager Bob Hungerford oversaw the project. Ms. Neubert noted that the original fence, generously donated by the late Anne and Tony Fisher, had to be replaced after 20 years.

— Michael Cummo

Blood donation stations will open to the public at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs on Tuesday, August 19, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. The Martha’s Vineyard Community Blood Drive, which is sponsored by The Red Cross, is part of the “100 days of summer, 100 days of hope” campaign to relieve blood and platelet shortages. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.

The West Tisbury Library's annual book sale is coming up this weekend at the West Tisbury School gym. — Michelle Williams

The annual West Tisbury Library book sale runs from this Friday, August 1, to Monday, August 4. Thousands of new and used books, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, and more at bargain prices will fill the West Tisbury School auditorium from 9 am to 3 pm each day. Books will be sold at half price on Sunday, and all remaining items are free on Monday. Proceeds benefit the West Tisbury Library. Visit westtisburylibrary.org for more information.

The annual breakfast with the Rotary Club is Sunday, August 3. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Dine with the Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard this Sunday, August 3, at the annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. From 7 am to 1 pm, the Rotary Club will serve pancakes, bacon, sausages, juice, milk, and coffee for $9 ($5 for children 12 and under) at The Anchors next to Edgartown’s Memorial Wharf. Proceeds benefit local services and organizations such as the Della Hardman Essay Contest, M.V. Boys and Girls Club, Windemere, and more.

Seated front row left to right: Grant Meacham, Mikayla Tinus, Sam Permar, Sarah Ortlip-Sommers. Standing next row left to right: Barbara Binder, Joe Mendick, Sophia Nelson, Darby Patterson, Garrett James, Bob Dutton. Standing last row left to right: Rykerr Maynard, Kenon Veno, Sydney Johnson. — Photo by Lily Lubin

Young Island actors bring the Tony Award winning musical “Spring Awakening” to the stage of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Performing Arts Center this Thursday and Friday, July 31 and August 1, at 8 pm. The musical, a dynamic coming of age story set in late 19th century Germany, is rated PG. Proceeds from the show benefit the Island Wide Youth Collaborative. Tickets are $20 and can be found at ticketsmv.com, Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury, or at the door.

— Meg Higgins

The theater group The Fabulists has returned for the season to the Tisbury Amphitheater at the Tashmoo Overlook, presented by the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. Every Saturday morning at 10 am through July and August, families can visit the amphitheater for a witty outdoor improvisational theater show aimed at children and join in the fun through audience participation. This Saturday’s show will be “Ashpet: an Appalachian Cinderella Story.” Tickets to the show are $10; $5 for children ages 2 and up. Visit mvplayhouse.org for more information.

The annual parade kicks off at 11:30 am at the Steamship Authority. — Angelina Godbout

The annual Feast of the Holy Ghost is this Saturday and Sunday, hosted by the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs, which calls the event “one of the major feasts of the Azorean people” on its website, Enjoy Portuguese cuisine, live music, games, and drinks from 5 pm through 12 midnight on Saturday; Sunday’s parade kicks off at 11:30 am from the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority and proceeds to the P-A Club, where the festivities continue with a dance performance by Portuguese dancers. For more information, visit holyghostassociation.com or call 508-693-9875.

— File photo by Ralph Stewart

The Oak Bluffs Library’s annual book sale is this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sponsored by the Library Friends of Oak Bluffs, hundreds of used fiction and nonfiction books, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks will be on sale at bargain prices to benefit the library. Sale hours are Thursday, July 17, from 10 am to 7 pm; Friday, July 18 from 10 am to 4 pm; and Saturday, July 19, from 10 am to 2 pm. Call 508-693-8326 for more information.

From left, Mariah MacKenzie, Della Burke, and Eva Wilson in "Bermuda Triangle." — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The lauded WIMP troupe, which wowed audiences at the Chicago Improv Festival and shared the stage with Jim Belushi last summer, are back for another season. This college-aged professional troupe delivers short-form and long-form improv based on audience suggestions. Doors open at 7:30 pm for an 8 pm show (rated PG-13) in the air-conditioned cabaret space at Alex’s Place, at the YMCA of M.V. in Oak Bluffs, every Thursday night from July 3 through August 22. For more information, call 508-939-9368 or visit imp4kids.com. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com/event/676785.

This classic 1880s Oak Bluffs carpenter gothic house owned by Mr. Michael and Mrs. Marushka Waters, at 51 Pequot Avenue, is featured on the tour. — Michael Cummo

The 31st Cottagers’ tour of historic homes in Oak Bluffs is entitled “Visions of the Vineyard.” The guided tours of five unique Vineyard houses ranging in style from Victorian to ultra-modern is Thursday, July 17, from 10 am to 3 pm.

“The tour gives homeowners a chance to show off their homes and gives visitors an opportunity to see how their neighbors live,” said Anne Patrick, organizer of this year’s tour.

Ticket holders may visit any of the houses, in any order, at any time during the scheduled tour. There will be a docent at each property to lead tours of the homes.

The annual tour raises funds for the Cottagers, formed in 1956 by a group of professional African-American women homeowners to promote education, a sense of cultural pride, and the value of service to the community. The group limits itself to a membership of 100 women of color. The Cottagers have donated to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Councils on Aging, the NAACP, and to M.V. Regional High School scholarships, among other groups.

This year’s houses, all in Oak Bluffs, are as follows:

Dr. Louis and Mrs. Olivia Baxter, 18 Hampson Avenue (Off New York Avenue); Ms. Margaret Jordan, 26 Meadow View Road; Mr. Michael and Mrs. Marushka Waters, 51 Pequot Avenue; and two ocean view units at the Seaview Condominiums at 2 Pennacook Avenue, Mr. Lawrence and Mrs. Ernestine Randall-Smith, unit 301, and Mr. John and Mrs. Angie Arrington, unit 302.

Tickets, $30, can be purchased on the day of the tour at Cottagers’ Corner, 57 Pequot Ave. in Oak Bluffs the day of the tour, and light refreshments will be served there between the tour hours. Advance tickets are available at the Cousen Rose Gallery and C’est La Vie on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. No photos are allowed during the tour.