What’s happening on the Fourth of July

Abigail McGrath and the Renaissance House are producing a Frederick Douglass speech. — Courtesy Renaissance House

The activities this year for Fourth of July still look a little bit different in the wake of COVID. With many children not vaccinated and businesses proceeding with caution, many of the larger events unfortunately cannot take place. However, there is still a mixture of virtual and in-person events that are set to take place.

As it was last year, the annual reading of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” will be held virtually on MVTV. The Renaissance House, a retreat for writers of color and writers on social justice, has hosted the annual reading of the speech on Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs. This year, participants are asked to record themselves at home reading a segment of Douglass’ speech. Renaissance House will then stitch them together and air them on MVTV, YouTube, and other outlets. Those interested in participating should email renaissancehse@aol.com.

The shops in Vineyard Haven still honor President Kennedy’s proclamation of the ringing of bells nationwide on July 4, 1963. The merchants in Vineyard Haven have celebrated this tradition at 2 pm on the Fourth for the past several years. These shops are also planning to donate $40 on that day to local veterans and will have a collection box for that purpose.

In Aquinnah, the 20th annual Fourth of July Parade will be held this year. Floats should start lining up at Moshup Trail at Old South Road at 9 am. The best float will receive the prize trophy and will get to lead the parade. The parade will start at 10 am and will follow the route around the Cliffs and back through town.

In Edgartown, the Edgartown Police Department announced it will hold a drive-through lobster roll fundraiser on July 3 at the Edgartown School. The lobster rolls will be sold from 4:30 to 7 pm, or until the department runs out. There are no pre-orders and the lobster rolls are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.