On Saturday, July 16, the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury celebrated its fourth annual Blueberry Festival. It is the second in the church’s series of fruit festivals, held to raise funds for the parish. The Strawberry Festival was in June and the Peach Festival will be held in August.
The First Congregational Church was founded in 1673 by Pastor John Mayhew, and is one of the oldest churches in the nation. The Reverend Cathlin Baker is now the minister. “She takes care of the whole flock,” Bill Adams, a church member present on Saturday, said. The church hangs a rainbow flag high on the front door. “We want everyone who passes by to know they are welcomed and can feel safe,” Mr. Adams said.
All of the church members came together at different stations to run the festival. Flowers were sold at the entrance. Children provided lemonade to quench the thirst of the humid July day. Marcia Winsryg, the founder the nonprofit organization African Artist Community Development Project, spotlighted handcrafted dolls from Africa. Olive Tomlinson and Mary Tamhmoush were in charge of the jewelry table. Friends of the church donated vintage jewelry to help raise money. “Some people donate their jewelry and then come buy it back,” Olive Tomlinson said. There was even a raffle to take home a blueberry bush.
Inside, the church smelled of sweet blueberries as church members bustled around to help customers. Blueberry peach cobbler, blueberry smoothies, blueberry parfait, fresh blueberries, and leftover strawberry festival jam were among the tasty treats for purchase. Mariye Jackson Adams, the head chef, and Dinny Montrowl were in charge of the kitchen. Marian Irving and Anne Nelson made delicious jam. Marie Doebler and Nancy Pritchard ran the parfait and smoothie table. Everyone pitched in to help make the Blueberry Festival a delightful experience for their patrons, who enjoyed their blueberry treats in the shade outside. Many said they were looking forward to the Peach Festival coming in August.