Edgartown’s three day holiday celebration starts Friday

Santa is always the highlight of the Christmas Parade. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Edgartown will be transformed into a bustling Christmas village this coming weekend, and what better backdrop for the host of events and activities that make up Christmas in Edgartown than the colonial white buildings of the historic whaling port.

According to Christmas in Edgartown chairperson Janice Wooden, what started with a “Blink and you’ll miss it” parade 31 years ago has grown exponentially to the point today where you couldn’t possibly participate in all the myriad activities.

With new businesses jumping on the holiday bandwagon every year, the grand total of events, activities, sales, samplings, and spectacles is now up to more than 70. Along with the parade (with more than 40 entries this year), there are some tried-and-true activities as well as a handful of new events.

The holiday festival has expanded from a one-day celebration to a three-day extravaganza. Says Ms. Wooden, “Particularly on Friday we now have a great lineup of events. It’s incredible what the stores have come through with this year.”

Among the new participants is M.V. Florist and Gifts, which expanded its Vineyard Haven operation to include a retail outlet on Mariner’s Way earlier this year. They will offer bow-making and seasonal centerpiece demonstrations on both Friday and Saturday morning and have free donuts, Vineyard Sweets chocolates, and cider all weekend.

Donaroma’s extravagant Evening of Enchantment open house was scaled back a few years ago to a an elaborate tree-for-every-Island-town display and a few workshops. This year, the florist and garden center is stepping up their presence with a Friday evening event, Star of Wonder.

Along with the traditional Pageant of Trees, there will be a multitude of star-themed displays and activities in the main greenhouse/store. A popcorn bar, scavenger hunt, and Celestial 3D Wonder will lend additional family fun to the magical scene that Donaroma’s is famous for creating.

“We want it to be a small, cozy event,” says Sue Weyl, self-proclaimed head elf. “The employees feel that the greenhouse and the whole nursery is so beautifully decorated that we just want to share it with the community.”

Other Friday evening events include the Holiday Soirée Cocktail Party at the elegant Daniel Fisher House and the annual Minnesingers concert at the Old Whaling Church (encore performance on Saturday afternoon).

Ms. Wooden wants to remind people to explore the outlying events. Although the crowds tend to congregate in the downtown area, there is plenty happening in the Triangle and beyond. New restaurant Lucky Hank’s will serve a brunch, Sharky’s will offer spiked hot chocolate in a variety of flavors, Edgartown Meat and Fish will host a holiday sampling to benefit Hospice, and The Boneyard will have an hourly prize drawing and refreshments.

Even some more remote spots are participating. Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary will once again host some family-friendly activities and, for the first time, Morning Glory Farm on the West Tisbury Road will feature hay rides and cookie decorating.

Tiny Chappaquiddick joins in the fun this year. Weather permitting, The Trustees of Reservations will deliver folks via “sleigh,” (an open, over-sand vehicle) to the Cape Poge lighthouse and back. The Trustees will outfit you in blankets and throws, and provide coffee and hot chocolate. The tours are one and one half hour long, and a van will pick you up at the Chappy side of ferry one half hour in advance. Call 508-627-3599 to book a tour.

Other new events include family makeover photos at Sea Spa Salon, Christmas créches and angel displays and activities at the Old Whaling Church, wood-fired brick-oven pizzas at the Vineyard Square Hotel, and mulled wine and mince pies at the Kelley House.

Although many of the Edgartown Inns will be hosting events, the official inn tour has been discontinued due to the current seasonal status of many of the inns that previously participated.

Starting with the lighting of the lighthouse ceremony on Friday, the Harbor View Hotel will again be the setting for a number of family and adult activities spread throughout the spacious facility. Kids can get pictures taken with Santa, visit the Sugar Plum Fairy in her gingerbread house, write wish lists, and enjoy a family film.

For the second year in a row, Point B Realty will sponsor The Teddy Bear Suite. Hundreds of bears of all shapes and sizes will be on display. There will be life-sized bears, a teddy-themed tree, dioramas, and commemorative teddies for sale. The proceeds all benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club. Point B will also match any online donations. Click on Events and Fundraisers at mvbg.org to make a donation.

A number of other events are intended as fundraisers. “Most everything that has a fee is a benefit for some charity,” Ms. Wooden says. At the Handmade from the Heart fair, proceeds from the sale of donated art and craft items go to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The Jewelry Jingle sale helps raise funds for the M.V. Museum. Saturday’s Holiday Art and Crafts Fair benefits the Edgartown School’s eighth grade class. A percentage of all purchases at J. McLaughlin will go to the Island Food Pantry. Chocolate sales at the Edgartown Commons benefit M.V. Community Services Early Childhood Programs. Breakfast with Santa on Sunday morning at The Wharf benefits the Jim Lambert Memorial Scholarship Fund. And, for the 28th year in a row, the always popular Great Chowder Contest will help raise money for the Red Stocking Fund.

The fun-filled weekend, which draws crowds from all over the Island and increasingly from off Island, has helped out local inns with event-specific bookings and brought increased business to town.

Says Edgartown Board of Trade president, Christina Cook, “We’re celebrating the holidays and also really trying to keep the shoulder season as alive and vibrant as possible.”

For a complete schedule of Christmas in Edgartown events, see the Events listings (C10) and the Christmas in Edgartown pages (C7–C9) in the Calendar section.

For more information, visit edgartownboardoftrade.com.