Last Saturday, the Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District Committee launched a weekly series of Saturday Strolls. From 4 to 6 pm, shops and galleries offered refreshments, special sales and, in some cases, small gifts of appreciation. “We want it to be as much about socializing as shopping,” said Peter Simon of the Simon Gallery, whose idea sparked the initiative. Mr. Simon was inspired by a friend’s weekly artists salons and wanted to do something similar in the downtown Vineyard Haven area. Saturday Strolls will combine the ideas of a business initiative and a social gathering. The committee hopes to expand on the initiative next summer.
“We hope to eventually include other businesses like architectural firms,” said M.J. Bruder Munafo, executive and artistic director of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, who is in charge of the strolls. “It’s just the idea to invite people to stop in and say hi and see what they’re all about.” The doors of The Playhouse, located on Church Street, will be open during the Saturday Strolls. They will offer refreshments and give tours of the newly renovated theater and backstage area. The MV Film Center, located in the Tisbury Marketplace will screen 4 pm movies on Saturdays.
The Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District extends from the library to the Tisbury Marketplace. “It’s incredible what we have within that one mile,” said Ms. Munafo. “Not every town has an independent bookstore or a newspaper. The Chamber of Commerce is in our district, and the shipyard. I’ve looked at the inventory of other cultural districts in the state and we’re pretty high up there in density. There are a lot of possibilities. We’re going to be getting more active as we become more organized.”
Last Saturday Mr. Simon, a celebrated photographer, offered up wine, soda, nuts, crackers, cheese, and brownies and invited guests to stop in and chat with him and his wife, artist Ronni Simon. “At one point our gallery actually became quite crowded,” he said. “We definitely had an increase in sales. This is sort of like a test run for the next four weeks. I think it will really take off next summer.”
Next door to the Simon Gallery, Louisa Gould laid out a festive spread of snacks and wine and invited guests to browse her latest exhibit, the annual Holiday Small Works Show, which features art and gift items from 10-plus artists in a variety of price ranges.
Among the stores that will participate in the strolls with refreshments and special sales are Juliska, the Collection, Rainy Day, Bunch of Grapes, Midnight Farm, and Alley Cat. The Beach House will be kicking off a weekly 25 percent sale each Saturday, featuring one of their signature lines. This week all Italian pottery is on sale. Starting on Saturday, all linens and bedspreads will be 25 percent off.
By all means visit Beadniks on Church Street before they close their doors for good mid-month. The store will be open every day until December 16 with a progressive sale going on. The more you buy, the more you save, up to 75 percent off, and the discounts will increase each week.
The strolls will offer a great chance to shop, nosh, meet the artists and store owners and get into the holiday spirit.
For more information, visit the Facebook page of Vineyard Haven Harbor Cultural District.