Chilmark: new wedding traditions

Bride Aja Oishi and groom Joshua Schwartz get their first look at a fingerprint tree, where all their guests have left their mark on before adding their own prints. the bride's stepmother Ane Guiles-Swonger of Lititz, PA looks on.Photo by Valerie Sonnenthal

I am feeling blessed to live here, a place where locals like Jessica Roddy and her daughters wait for their friends at the airport gate barefoot and wrapped in a beach blanket, where you will be serenaded by the magical voices of Melanie Sroka-Chaunce and Carole Vandal on pizza nights at Orange Peel Bakery, where I can swim outside into October and endless other reasons. My husband and I went to a magical wedding over the weekend where we were introduced to new traditions: The bride and groom literally tied the knot, each entering a courtyard carrying a one-inch-thick piece of rope. At the end of the ceremony, they tied their ropes into a love knot, pulling it taut, then wore it over their shoulders as they walked through the guests. Also at this wedding, a tradition from Pennsylvania, brought by the bride’s stepmother, allowed all guests to add a fingerprint and their name to branches of a tree, creating a colorful communal gift for the couple.

I just learned that the memorial service for William Waterway will be held on Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Ag Hall, starting at 1 pm. Please bring a dish to share.

The Art of Fly Tying is a two-day event at Featherstone Center for the Arts with an opening reception from 4 to 5:30 pm on Thursday, Sept. 24, followed by a fly-tying workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. This event features renowned saltwater fly tyers Page Rogers and Bob Popovics, as well as local fly tyers Captain Jamie Boyle, Tim Allen, Ed Lepore, and Captain Karen Kukolich. Check, or call 508-693-1850 to find out more.

Jacqueline Lapidus, Susanne Braham, Donna Hilbert, Susan Mahan, Christine Silverstein, and Holly Zeeb read their poems from “The Widows’ Handbook: Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival” on Friday, Sept. 25, at 3:30 pm, at the West Tisbury library.

Join some of your favorite local artists for Paint with an Artist on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 6 to 8 pm; or for Music in the Gallery on Friday, Sept. 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 29, both evenings from 6 to 8 pm; or an Artist Demonstration Night on Sunday, Sept. 27, from 6 to 8 pm at Painting the Island Art Show on at 14 Church Street, Vineyard Haven (the old Beadnicks building). Artists include Leslie Baker, Lowely Finnerty, Judith Howells, Kanta Lipsky, Marjorie Mason, June Schopp, Kate Taylor, Liz Taft, and Valentine Estabrook.

Remember the Farmers Market starts up at the Grange on Saturday, Sept. 26.

One of the great art happenings on this Island: Don’t miss the second annual Iron Pour at Featherstone Center for the Arts on Saturday, Sept. 26. From noon to 4 pm, carve a scratch mold; at 4 pm the furnace fires up; 6 to 9 pm is the iron pour; and finished pieces can be picked up on Sunday. See or call 508-693-1850 to find out more.

If you like to sing, join legend Nick Page of the Mystic Chorale for a Community Building Sing on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 7 to 9 pm at the PAC at the high school. Sliding scale: $10 to $20, or students and seniors $5 to $10. For more info, contact Roberta Kirn at 774-563-0318.

Jan Buhrman and the Kitchen Porch are offering a Harvest the Bounty workshop on Monday, Sept. 28 from 6 to 9 pm. Learn to cook squash, dry tomatoes and herbs, and make sauces and soups. Cost $89. Call 508-645-5000 or see for more information.

SlowFood MV is hosting a free event at the Ag Hall on Monday, Sept. 28, from 5:30 to 8 pm for Island chefs and caterers and farmer/fisher/shellfish professionals to discuss supply and demand on the Island and how to strengthen the farmer/food professional relationship and local food flow. Tickets are free; reserve yours at

If it’s been awhile since you played with color, join Sandy Bernat’s Monoprinting with a Gel Plate workshop at Seastone Papers in West Tisbury on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. $50 plus $10 materials. Or attend her Making Gel-Printed Books, where you will create two or three embellished, stitched books using gelatin prints. $55. Check out her other offerings at, or call 508-693-5786.

Learn about Middle Eastern politics from someone who lives there, Roi Maor, from the Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel, when he talks about politics in the Middle East on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 5 pm at the Chilmark library.