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Chilmark

Valerie SonnenthalSummer movie on Menemsha Beach with Sylvia Earle and Bob Nixon, Backyard Bash on a gorgeous evening enjoyed by families and all ages, Chilmark Road Race with more runners than ever, the First Family nestled into their vacation digs, hearing Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Foundation founder and president Dr. John Aucott speak at an informal gathering, one of my sons returning from a summer semester in Poland and one off camping in New Hampshire, dancing in Built on Stilts, girlfriends from Rockland County, N.Y., visiting — it’s the August blur under the Supermoon and Perseid meteor showers. It’s time to start thinking about the Ag Fair, what to enter, and enjoying the myriad of offerings all over our Island.

The other morning in Menemsha I spotted a woman standing by the creek working on a small canvas, fog making the world of this painter a timeless quiet. It was Karen Cuchel, an artist and teacher born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She works plein air whether at home (still in Brooklyn) or every summer when she, her husband, writer/teacher Jason Dubow, and their kids visit Chilmark, a family tradition started by his parents over 30 years ago. Also our sons will share a common experience, The Mountain School, a one-semester program for high school juniors — we wish Ari Dubow a great semester.

Kara Taylor’s last gallery opening of the summer season is her NIGHT exhibit Sunday, August 17, from 5 to 8 pm. Come see her newest work; I know she’s been busy painting every day. For more information, 508-332-8171.

Last dinner (7 pm) and a movie (8 pm) in Chilmark is “Art and Craft,” a documentary about Mark Landis who has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, though he donated his work to museums under the ruse of being a philanthropist. Come meet Mark Landis on Wednesday, August 20.  For tickets and information, tmvff.org/artcraft.

The Chilmark Public Library gets serious this week with author/activist Rebecca Gordon, a professor at University of San Francisco, discussing her new book, “Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post 9/11 United States” on Wednesday, August 20, at 5 pm. Catch West Tisbury author John Hough Jr. discussing his new novel “Little Bighorn” on Thursday, August 21, at 5 pm.

The last session of Author Lecture Series at the Chilmark Community Center offers three masterful memoirists discussing writing their personal stories. Come hear Gail Sheehy, Richard Hoffman, Katie Hafner moderated by Alexandra Styron on Thursday, August 21, 7:30 pm. Tickets available at ticketsmv.com and the CCC (M-F, 9-12 only). The last Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society concert will be Carol Wincenc on flute, Jay Campbell on cello, Delores Stevens on piano, playing J.S. Bach’s Duo from the “Well Tempered Clavier,” and other works by Gabriella Lena Frank and Jake Heggie.

All Chilmark Community Center programs and classes run through August 15. The Chilmark Flea Market runs through Saturday, August 30. Remember, Chilmark Chocolates is now closed until September 4. You can still take yoga and dance classes through September 7 at The Yard. Lobster Rolls to Go at the Chilmark Church runs Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 pm through September 9, and yoga at the church with Primo Lombardi on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 am runs through August 28.

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.

Valerie SonnenthalLife is buzzing in Chilmark. Can’t even pull into parking lots, local eggs are sold out by noon, and the bulletin board at Chilmark Store has no space left. I stopped there for breakfast last week in the rain and the porch was full. Laurie David and a friend in one corner, Doug Liman, Wendy Weldon, James Langlois, and others happily huddled under cover and enjoying morning coffee clutches. Monday brought back sunshine, and once again we are finding deer ticks after walking our dogs. Please remember to check yourselves and loved ones thoroughly. Take it slow on the roads and be sure not to cut off the Presidential motorcade.

Congratulations to Chilmark’s own Nancy Slonim Aronie, celebrating the 25th anniversary of her Chilmark Writing Workshop. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity. You will be happy you decided to give it try. I did her workshop during my second year living here and look forward to attending again soon.

The Allen Farm, Martha’s Vineyard’s oldest continuously working family farm, is hosting the 17th Annual Water Tasting by the Sea, Thursday, August 7, 2014, 5:30- 7:30 pm. A silent auction, raffle, and live music complete the event to benefit Vineyard House, sober housing for Islanders in early recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Call 508-693-8580 for tickets or buy online.

If you are starting grades 6 -12 it is not too late to enter the Elisa Brickner Annual Poetry Contest, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Poems are due August 11. Winning entries receive $200 first prizes or $100 for 2nd and 3rd prizes! For details stop by or call the library: (508-645-3360) or check chilmarklibrary.org/youth.php.

Come hear Alan Dershowitz, 75, Chilmark’s favorite resident scholar, and Lucinda Franks, radical hippie and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who married New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in 1977, speak about their memoirs on Sunday, August 10, 7:30 pm. Richard North Patterson will discuss the last book in his Martha’s Vineyard trilogy, “Eden in Winter,” a psychological and family drama mostly set in Chilmark. Both at the Chilmark Community Center. Tickets available at ticketsmv.com or at CCC (M-F, 9 am–12 pm only).

It is the last chance to join Roberta Kirn for a Community Sing at The Yard, Tuesday, August 12, 5–6 pm. All are welcome, no experience necessary. Free.

Learn about Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Campaign at the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Annual Reception, August 12, 5–8 pm, Old Town Hall, 65 State Road, Aquinnah. Free.

Don’t miss art historian Henry Adams’s talk about artist Thomas Hart Benton’s work and legacy on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, August 13, 5 pm. Benton made Chilmark his second home for nearly five decades, until his death in 1975. Sponsored by the Chilmark Historical Commission and Friends of the Chilmark Public Library.

Baseball lovers will enjoy Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival’s Dinner (7 pm) and a Movie (8 pm) featuring “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” with director Chapman Way and producer Juliana Lembi Wednesday, August 13, at the community center. This heartwarming and hilarious film documents one of the great true stories about America’s underdogs — in this case, the Portland Mavericks of 1973. For information goto tmvff.org/bbb.

Bill Edison reports that when Ed Eger comes from California to Flanders Field, he is known as the best home run hitter since the Dave Flanders reign. Too bad for Ed. After hitting a tremendous drive headed over Pasture Road, his 20-something son, Will ,was waiting for the catch, robbing his dad of a sure home run.

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.

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The 18-acre property on the north shore of Martha’s Vineyard contains the remnants of an old brick factory.

A water view of the brickyard property that's been donated to The Trustees of the Reservations. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) announced Monday it had received the historic brickyard property in Chilmark, a gift from the estate of Flora Epstein. The 18-acre property on the north shore of Martha’s Vineyard is adjacent to TTOR’s Menemsha Hills Reservation property to which it will be joined by a future trail.

The red brick chimney, a familiar landmark for boaters, is all that remains of the former brick factory. The property is inaccessible to the public from North Road.

The brick factory was an important source of building materials 150 years ago.
The brick factory was an important source of building materials 150 years ago.

Ms. Epstein, a long-time resident whose family ties to the Island goes back generations, died in 2010. The site is historically significant, having served as the first commercial brickyard in New England, in operation from 1642 throughout the late 1800s, according to a TTOR press release. The clay deposits on the property are among the oldest soil found in the northeast, dating back 140 million years. By comparison, 99 percent of the Vineyard’s surface soils are less than 10,000 years old. The clay was used to manufacture the highly sought-after bricks that were shipped to Boston, New York, and Newport to help build these great American cities.

“It is through the generosity of prescient donors like Ms. Epstein and her family that The Trustees can help to preserve irreplaceable historic and archaeologically significant Massachusetts landscapes like the Brickyard for everyone, forever,” said Barbara Erickson, TTOR president and CEO.

Ms. Epstein contributed $60,000 to The Trustees in 2005 to establish a start-up endowment for the preservation of the Brickyard. The gift was realized in 2010, shortly after her death. The Trustees have also received a temporary easement from Ms. Epstein’s family, owners of the abutting property, so crews can access the property and begin making important safety and public access improvements. TTOR said that priority projects will include erecting safety fencing around the industrial remnants and creating walking trails for the public.

A beach walk along the property adjacent to the brickyard.
A beach walk along the property adjacent to the brickyard.

“We are honored to be entrusted with preserving and protecting the legacy of this important site and to be able to link it to our current Menemsha Hills Reservation,” said Christopher Kennedy, TTOR Martha’s Vineyard superintendent. “We look forward to creating many opportunities for Islanders and tourists to visit the property and learn more about its important place in our cultural and geological history.”

The Trustees expect the Brickyard to be open to the public during the summer of 2015, after a property plan has been established for the site.

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The president and his family are expected to stay in a home well off North Road in Chilmark that features a basketball court and pool.

A view of President Obama's vacation getaway at 72 Gosnold's Way in Chilmark. — Photo by Nathaniel Horwitz

The White House late Wednesday confirmed that President Obama and his family will return to Martha’s Vineyard for two weeks of vacation in August.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arriving on Martha's Vineyard last year for their summer vacation.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arriving on Martha’s Vineyard last year for their summer vacation.

“On Saturday, August 9th, the President and the First Lady will travel to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts,” a White House official said on background. “They will remain there until Sunday, August 24th, when they will return to Washington, D.C. There are no public events scheduled at this time and further details on travel will be released when they are available.”

The president is expected to return to Chilmark, the town that is clearly their favored vacation spot on Martha’s Vineyard. The family will stay in a secluded house off North Road that overlooks the north shore and Vineyard Sound, according to property owners familiar with the elaborate security preparations that precede a presidential visit.

Though not confirmed by the White House, the Obamas are expected to stay at the home of Joanne Hubschman at 72 Gosnold’s Way off Prospect Hill Road, said neighbors and Prospect Hill residents, some of whom requested anonymity because Ms. Hubschman told them on condition of secrecy. The seven-bedroom, nine-bath, 8,100-square-foot house, sits on a 10-acre lot and is assessed at more than $12 million. It features 17 rooms in total, expansive water views of Vineyard Sound, an infinity pool and hot tub, and a dual tennis-basketball court.

“She told us it was a secret, but I guess the secret’s out,” Lillian Kellman, a neighbor, said in a conversation with The Times at the front door of her home. “The whole Island probably knows by now. My husband will remember when we first heard it.”

Ray Kellman, Ms. Kellman’s husband, was cutting zucchini in the kitchen. He paused in his kitchen chores to retell his story.

As he did last summer, President Obama is expected to spend a lot of time on the Island's golf courses.
As he did last summer, President Obama is expected to spend a lot of time on the Island’s golf courses.

“We first heard about it when a friend of ours said, ‘I hear the Obamas are staying on your road this summer,’ a few weeks ago, before we’d heard anything about it,” Mr. Kellman said. “Then the real estate guy, Tom Wallace, called us. He explained that Obama would be here and that they were coming to stay nearby, and that they appreciated our help, since they wanted to keep a communications vehicle — no one will be in it — at our house, powered with electricity from our garage. Wallace came by, he looked around, took some pictures looking for the best spot for the vehicle. I thought that there are too many trees around here, but Wallace said the vehicle has an antenna that can go up 150 feet, above the treeline.”

A visit by a Times reporter to 72 Gosnold’s Way brought Ms. Hubschman to the door. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said, smiling. “I’ve heard nothing about that.”

Real estate agent Tom Wallace of Wallace & Co. in Edgartown has handled housing arrangements for the Obamas during previous Island visits.

In a telephone conversation with The Times late Wednesday, Mr. Wallace would not confirm any visits to Gosnold’s Way, but he did confirm his involvement again this year in helping to find a vacation retreat. “As you can imagine, there are security concerns, so I can’t confirm any locations,” he said. “Each year we choose three viable options, and we have not executed a final decision for this year.”

Asked what he looks for when seeking properties for the President’s visit, Mr. Wallace said, “A basketball court is great, a swimming pool is nice, privacy is obviously important.”

The Prospect Hill Association is scheduled to hold a meeting at 9 am, Saturday morning where residents of the exclusive subdivision are expected to learn more about checkpoints, the screening process, and whether or not there will be a list of names of people approved to enter Prospect Hill during the first family’s stay, according to one member of the association who asked not to be identified. The Hubschman property is not part of Prospect Hill, but its access runs through the subdivision.

Agents for the Obamas originally inquired about renting the home of Frank V. Sica at 60 Prospect Hill Road, which also has a pool, vast water views and access to the Prospect Hill Association’s tennis courts. They ultimately decided to look at the next road over, Gosnold’s Way.

Ms. Hubschman makes her home in Greenwich, Conn., and had four children with her husband of more than 25 years, Henry Hubschman, who had a distinguished career in law, government and business until his death in 2011, according to his obituary. He was president and CEO of General Electric’s Aviation Services and Infrastructure divisions, which grew from assets of $10 billion to $49 billion under his leadership. “He took special pleasure in hosting friends and family at their summer home on Martha’s Vineyard,” read his obituary in the Washington Post.

Word of a repeat presidential visit began circulating around the Island in March. The president brings a large entourage of Secret Service agents, White House staffers, and support personnel, and the White House began arranging for lodging this spring, according to sources.

Mr. Obama and his family have vacationed on the Island every year since his 2008 election, with the exception of 2012, when he was campaigning for re-election.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, the first family rented Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a 28.5-acre secluded compound on Tisbury Great Pond. The house was sold in December 2011 to architect Lord Norman Foster and his wife, Lady Elena Foster, of Thames Bank in Great Britain under the name of a holding corporation.

Last year, the first family also stayed in Chilmark, renting a 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house valued at $7.6 million just a short distance off South Road. Owned by David M. Schulte, the home has an attached, two-bedroom guesthouse, small basketball court, and water views. That visit necessitated the closure of South Road, much to the irritation of many local residents and Chilmark selectman Warren Doty. No road closures are anticipated this trip.

Past presidential vacation activities have included golf, more golf, bike trips with the family, hikes, and dinner with friends.

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The policeman and the fawn.

Chilmark police often receive calls related to vehicles striking deer. On Wednesday morning, police received a call from a delivery person who had found a very young fawn while making a delivery in the Squibnocket section of town.

Chilmark police chief Brian Cioffi said the man wrapped the fawn in a shirt and brought it to his truck. Police retrieved the animal and put it in a dog crate in the station where, with the assistance of West Tisbury animal control officer Joanie Jenkinson, they attempted to feed it milk through an eye dropper.

Chief Cioffi said the prognosis for the animal, which appeared sickly and weak, did not appear good. The deer died that afternoon. “The deer was buried behind our station by the flowers,” Chief Cioffi said.

Mr. Cioffi said the mother might have been scared off and might have returned, or could have abandoned the sickly fawn. In either case, he said, it is always best to let nature take its course and not do anything that adds human scent which will deter the mother from returning.

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Owners Jennifer LoRusso and Joel Glickman pose in front of their up-Island establishment, which opened for the season on Monday, May 12. — Lisa Vanderhoop

On Monday, May 12, the up-Island oasis that’s evolving into as much an institution for Chilmark as Alley’s General Store has long been for West Tisbury opened its doors for the 2014 season.

With its famous porch rockers sanded and painted, The Chilmark General Store is ready for folks to kick back with a bag of provisions and a slice of pizza and watch the world go up and down State Road. Wife and husband owners Jennifer LoRusso and Joel Glickman have toiled through the winter making improvements to the store. For instance, patrons queuing up to order food will now be greeted by a handmade countertop pastry case, a refitted delicatessen case, and an array of new menu boards featuring new items and old favorites. Perhaps the king of those boards is the Island Grown pizza.

“Our Island Grown pizza is topped with vegetables grown here on the Island, mostly from our garden in Chilmark,” said Ms. LoRusso, “and it changes daily according to what is coming in from the garden. The toppings are often harvested in the morning and on a pizza within a few hours. We do a lot of white pizzas — without tomato sauce — that really focus on the earthy green vegetables. Some favorites are broccoli raab with green garlic in the spring and Sungold tomato with fresh basil and zucchini in the summer. This year we will be adding Island Grown chicken and pork as well.”

Other highlights of the menu boards include the popular Breakfast Burrito, the Up Island Vegan sandwich, and a submarine sandwich stuffed with meatballs house-made from Northeast Family Farms pork and beef.

On the merchandise and grocery side of the store, the shelves, racks, and coolers are packed from soup to nuts, literally. Shoppers will also find Wiffle balls and bats, Grey Barn milk, store-logoed coolers, island eggs, and produce from Morning Glory and North Tabor farms. To manage the produce throughout the store, Ms. LoRusso and Mr. Glickman have welcomed aboard Louise Petersiel of Chilmark Tavern fame.

However, the change likely to resonate from Menemsha to Manhattan isn’t a particular person or product but a service — one that’s practically unheard of up-Island. Cue snare drum:

“We will be introducing pizza delivery in late June a couple nights a week within about a five mile radius,” said Ms. LoRusso.

Cue brass band.

For more information on the Chilmark Store visit chilmarkgeneralstore.com or visit their Facebook page.

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To the Editor:

I love Squibnocket Beach, as do most who’ve ever stepped foot there.

And while I’m not against the folks at Squibnocket Point having access to their supersized summer homes, I’m passionately opposed to the current plan and the Chilmark selectmen’s handling of it.

The fear that the homeowners have of losing access to their homes is real. The fear I have is that one of the Island’s most beautiful beaches will be harmed is also real. So, what do we do with all of this fear? Keep making digs at one another? I hope not.

I don’t know what the best solution is – far from it. I’m simply asking that we all roll up our sleeves and find a win/win solution that we can all be proud of.

The current plan is being pitched as a public benefit to “preserve the beach rights for Chilmarkers,” but many of us see this as an affront. Here is why:

At two of the well attended public hearings, the meeting was wrapped up after approximately 75 minutes. Many hands were still in the air, and many contentious issues were still on the table. At one such meeting, our chance to hear from the experts hired by the Squibnocket homeowners association, was cut short because they had to catch a boat. The experts only had time to present their plans and thoughts but no time to hear any public comment or take any public questions.

The absurdity of the project that has been rammed down our throats is one thing. The denial of viable community involvement in the process is another.

Both sides agree that the sea is rising. Both sides agree that something needs to be done.  The experts hired by both sides do not agree on the best solution. And that is a problem that we need to work together to solve. Together. Together. Two sides gather together. Got it?

Thomas Bena

Chilmark

Katie-CarrollThis past weekend, well, it was all about the Chilmark School for me. Brooks, my ten-year-old fifth-grader, returned from the school’s Outing Program ski trip. Seven students in all ventured to Carrabassett Valley, Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain. Brooks along with his classmates Noah Glasgow, Menasha Leport, Keira McCarthy, Fynn Monahan, Imogen Taylor, and Bella Thorpe had three days of skiing at the Loaf. Day one was hard pack. Day two they cruised through fresh powder. Day three they indulged in perfectly groomed slopes. Their three days offered up three different experiences. They lessoned each morning, mixed in some schoolwork after lunch, had free ski in the afternoon and a dip in the pool each evening. Noah celebrated his 11th birthday with his classmates in their Wildflower condo. The lucky seven returned from their five-day adventure seeming older, more confident, and certainly feeling a sense of accomplishment. I am so very proud of them all, even though it is a bit sobering to realize this is their last big adventure as Chilmark School students. The lucky seven will graduate in June and move on to middle school in the fall.

The four parent chaperones — Marshall Carroll, Julie Flanders, Eric Glasgow, and Nancy Leport — returned just in time to help pull together all of the finishing touches for the big PTO/Outing Program fundraiser held at the CCC this past Saturday night. The Center was transformed into a sparkly rock and blues nightclub. The music of Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish managed to pull the eclectic crowd of party-goers onto the dance floor. I must say, the joint was really jumpin’. About half way through the evening, our locally famous charter fishing captains Scott McDowell and Buddy Vanderhoop took center stage as the live auctioneers. As one would expect, there was some jovial banter back and forth between the two. We wouldn’t have had it any other way. Kudos to all of the folks who made this event happen. An extra big thank you to those who went above and beyond the call of duty running last minute errands, staying into the wee hours of the morning to clean up, climbing very tall ladders, removing a truckload of trash, and so on. Hillary Noyes-Keene, Patricia Bacon, Keith Fenner, Edie Prescott, Molly Glasgow, John Keene, Marshall Carroll, Caroline Flanders, Doug Bardwell, Jess Bradlee, Julie Flanders, Deb Hancock, and those I inadvertently may have overlooked, our children and I graciously thank you. The town of Chilmark truly is a remarkable community to be a part of. We are so lucky to be surrounded by folks who, time and time again say, “I will do that” and actually do. Life in the town of Chilmark never fails me. My friends, my neighbors, my community never offer empty promises. Oh boy, I must be overtired. You are experiencing the reflective and sappy side of me. I will stop.

Wow. Congratulations to Lucas Murphy of Murphy’s Law Motorsports, son of Lynn and Susan, on his 11th place finish out of 150 competitors at the eighth annual Griffin King of the Hammers. This ultimate four-wheel-drive race captured the attention of Lucas and his team. Johnson Valley, deep in the heart of the California desert, is the home of this highly competitive all-day race. Lucas’s time was an impressive 10:29:10.

I’d like to extend my condolences to the family of Ted Meinelt. He was laid to rest this past weekend at the age of 97. I seemed to time my drives by his house as he was checking the mail. He would share a wave and a smile and then turn to walk back to The Old House, typically with a hand full of envelopes. His presence will certainly be missed.

Valentine’s Day has certainly crept up on me this year. If the same thing has happened to you and you find yourself buzzing by the Santander Bank, stop in and pick up some of Lisa Vanderhoop’s Sea Dogs Valentine cards. One of her cards is a definite standout with its sweet play on words — the photo is a box filled with chocolate Lab puppies. You needn’t leave town to get a delightful assortment of goodies for that someone you are sweet on. Chilmark Chocolates are a definite must, lunch out at The Food Truck, and maybe some lobsters from Stanley for an indulgent dinner. It would simply be a gastronomical fantasy. Enjoy all. May the love be with you.

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Anthony Benton Gude, left, and Rick O'Gorman playing on stage at the Chilmark Community Center. — Photo by Meg Higgins

More than 25 performers, including The Chandler Blues Band, entertained a crowd of approximately 200 Saturday evening at the 17th Chilmark Potluck Jam at the Chilmark Community Center, according to Potluck Jam organizer Alex Karalekas.

Meghan La Roque was one of 25 musicians who played last Saturday.
Meghan La Roque was one of 25 musicians who played last Saturday.

“It went excellently,” he said earlier this week. “The crowd rotated through the evening as the focus changed from food to the solo performers, to the band. There were never less than 50 people and that was just before closing at 11 pm. We had some excellent music.”

The Island band Dukes County Love Affair (DCLA) was scheduled to play a full set but had to cancel due to the flu knocking out their guitarist, John Stanwood. “It was disappointing, but we had plenty of musicians to fill the gap,” Mr. Karalekas continued.

The free five-hour event was one of a series that Mr. Karalekas, an Island shingler, carpenter, fisherman, and guitarist-songwriter, has been organizing on a regular basis since 2008.

In the winter the jams give local musicians a forum for their songwriting and performing in a relaxed atmosphere. Mr. Karalekas said that winter is a time when Islanders have a little more time to work together on their music.

He is planning another event in late February, but the date has not been finalized.

Marciana Jones, a frequent performer at the Chilmark Potluck Jams. — File Photo by Susan Safford

The Chilmark Potluck Jam is the place to go for good grub and good music. It’s back this Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Chilmark Community Center beginning at 5 pm. It’s free and open to all ages. Bring a dish and something to drink.

Some of the Island’s best performers will be on hand, Joe Keenan, Phil DaRosa, Adam Howell, Garrett James, Meghan LaRoque, and Alex Karalekas among them. The chairs and tables will be pushed back to make room for dancing at 9 pm when The Chandler Blues Band will play a set followed by Dukes County Love Affair (DCLA), fresh off their New England tour in support of their new EP, High Sky.