Oak Bluffs awaits state’s four-phase plan

Harborfest may avoid chopping block, get postponed to July.

Oak Bluffs is hoping to save its annual Harborfest, which attracted a big crowd last year, but awaits the state advisory board’s four phase plan to reopen the economy.

While the Oak Bluffs fireworks and Illumination Night have both been canceled, the Oak Bluffs Business Association is trying to save Harborfest from the chopping block this summer.

At a selectmen’s meeting Tuesday evening, town officials said they awaited Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase plan to reopen the economy.

Harborfest is scheduled for June 20, and OBA executive director Christine Todd said she would see about postponing it until July. “We have been optimistic that we would be able to host, knowing full well that it might not take on the same feel,” Todd said.

Selectman Brian Packish said once Gov. Charlie Baker’s advisory board releases its four-phase plan to reopen the economy, the town might have more guidance on how to plan events. Packish did say he liked the idea of postponing Harborfest, but asked to take it up at the next selectmen’s meeting.

In other business, town administrator Robert Whritenour told selectmen the town meeting logistics team is looking at the Tabernacle, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football field, or a local park as potential locations for annual town meeting. 

Whritenour said the logistics team is also awaiting Baker’s four-phase plan.

Selectmen also approved that Whritneour sign an application to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development for community development block grants for rental and mortgage assistance, small business and microenterprise forgivable loans, Social Services, or any other programs for residents of the towns of Oak Bluffs and Tisbury.

The Department of Housing and Community Development has made $19.6 million available for local communities through the federal CARES Act.

“We’re extraordinarily mindful of the impact that COVID-19 has had on local businesses,” Whritneour said. “And we look forward very, very much … to the federal government putting together a program of relief of microenterprises, which dominate our economy by far.”


  1. Well, I won’t be mingling at Harborfest in either June or July. Talk about a plague spreading event in a confined area……

    • If you are concerned by all means do not attend. The tide is now changing from all of us forced to self quarantine to those most susceptible are encouraged to stay at home until there is a vaccine or better treatments available.

      • “The tide is now changing from all of us protecting each other by not spreading the disease to those of us who are reckless to start ignoring the advice of health professionals so we can force everyone back into quarantine when we get sick.” Fixed.

  2. 90% of ALL Covid-19 cases have come from 4 places. Home, work, public transportation or restaurants.

  3. I am not optimistic that any 4-stage plan is going to work well. The more complicated and confusing, the less it will be followed. Look what happened when an ice cream place on the Cape tried to open up safely with some simple commonsense rules. Personally, I’m not going anywhere near indoor crowds no matter how far apart we are seated. Many people have spread the disease to their families in homes where people can easily remain more than six feet apart, even when they were trying to self-isolate in one part of the home. Expecting a little extra space between tables in a restaurant or allowing a few less people in a store is just hopeless. And what about the bathrooms?

  4. I am going to believe in our fearless leader, that someday all of this will go away, just disappear, like a miracle!
    The economy, led by Jared Kushner, will lurch ahead like a rocket, the country will have its best quarter ever,…did I forget anything? … Oh yeah, I will take a quick injection of bleach, then go attend a roaring Harborfest.

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