Memorial Day weekend couldn’t have come at a more perfect time this year, as life continues to slowly return to normal. The weekend, dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the veterans while remembering those who lost their lives in service to our country, will contain a number of events dedicated to showing respect hosted on the Island.
This year will see the return of many public events, while still practicing social distancing and other guidelines for all COVID protocols. However, to further the safety of the students on the Island, most school events, including the March to the Sea, will be put on hold for another year. Fortunately, some small events will still take place, such as the Tisbury School holding a small ceremony on the 28th at 10 am.
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival will make its return this weekend for the Vineyard Drive-In at the YMCA. It will start the weekend on Friday with “Back to the Future,” and will continue with “Jurassic Park” on Saturday, and “Raya and the Last Dragon” on Sunday, all starting at 8 pm. A family-friendly fair will also take place to celebrate the opening, as well as to recognize Memorial Day. As the season continues, the MVFF will add music and a stage for other performances. All guidelines for COVID protocols will be in place, but luckily the large outdoor area allows for social distancing to be that much easier. More information for this weekend and future weekends can be found on the MVFF website, tmvff.org.
The Vineyard Artisans are excited to also be kicking off their return this season with the Memorial Day Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 29 and 30, from 10 am to 4 pm each day at the historic Grange Hall in West Tisbury. Andrea Rogers, the founder of the Vineyard Artisans, shared her excitement for the return: “I call it the COVID butterfly effect. Now that we are emerging from our cocoons, we are bright, strong, and ready to see the world again, more beautiful than before.” The festival will follow all normal protocols, but with more of the public receiving vaccines and the public fear dwindling, Rogers and the Vineyard Artisans are ready to get closer to the friends and customers they have missed so much.
The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society will continue its annual tradition of the Memorial Day spring concert. This year the concert will have its “first play” video premiere accessible online. The concert will feature a number of American songs spanning more than 100 years, starting with Charles Ives’s 1894 “Song” and concluding with Richard Rogers’ “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the Broadway musical “Carousel.” The first half of the program will follow Ives’s “Art Song” style before transitioning into the second half, consisting of classic Broadway melodies. The concert will premiere exclusively on the MVCMS’s new YouTube channel at 5 pm on Monday, Memorial Day, May 31. To gain access to the link, visit the Chamber Music Society’s website, mvcms.org, and sign up for the concert link before noon on Sunday the 30th; a link will be sent via email by that Monday.
Hospice and Palliative Care of Martha’s Vineyard will host the 27th annual Martha’s Vineyard Memorial Road Race 5K this year virtually. The race can take place any time this weekend between Friday, May 28, and Monday, May 31, with the course and pace selected by the participants. All funds raised from the event will benefit Hospice. Registration can be found online at bit.ly/2RE6Ks8.
The classic Oak Bluffs attraction the Flying Horses Carousel will also reopen to the public for the Memorial Day weekend, starting on Friday, May 28, from 4 to 8 pm. To practice social distancing, the carousel will have to reduce capacity, and riders of the horses must wear masks. The carousel will be open on weekends Friday through Sunday, with an additional day on Memorial Day, Monday, from 11 am to 4:30 pm.
The annual Avenue of Flags will take place on Monday, where veterans will hang the flags at 7:30 am in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven before they are taken down at 3 pm. A ceremony will be held at 11 am with guest speaker James Hagerty, a Marine Corps infantry officer and Island native. With nearly eight years on active duty, and seven years in the Marine Corps Reserve, he is now the battalion executive officer of 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, and is serving as Edgartown’s town administrator. All flags will be at half-staff at the beginning of the day, and returned to the top of their poles at noon.
The Memorial Day Parade returns this year, starting at 10:30 am at the American Legion. All focus will be set on making sure the elderly veterans are safe, so all CDC guidelines will be in place.
All veterans are invited to attend a special wreath ceremony in front of the courthouse in Edgartown at 9 am on Saturday, May 29.