Obama celebrates birthday with friends, celebrities

Biden makes a virtual appearance; jet traffic saw uptick.

From left, Michelle Obama, musician H.E.R., and Barack Obama at Obama's birthday party in Edgartown Saturday. The photo was making the rounds on Instagram.

Barack Obama’s highly anticipated birthday party featured his friends, celebrities, and Island food Saturday.

The star-studded guest list included John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Don Cheadle, Kim Fields, Gayle King, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, and Steven Spielberg, according to People. There were performances by Legend, H.E.R., and Erykah Badu, People reported.

The lavish event was scaled down due to concerns about the spread of the Delta COVID variant, but some were still able to make a virtual appearance.

A source familiar with the party told The Times President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Dalai Lama sent video messages to Obama that were played at the party.

“The greatest gift of our time together is the bond between our families,” Biden said in his video. “Happy birthday, 44. Jill and I send you and Michelle our love. Look forward to seeing you soon.”

Several COVID protocols were in place for the event, and Centers for Disease Control protocols were in place, such as a COVID coordinator who was in communication with Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty, requests for guests to be vaccinated, and requests for individuals to show negative COVID tests. A source familiar with the party told The Times masks with 44×60 were given out to all guests — a nod to the number president he was and his age.

The event was held at Obama’s 30-acre estate in Edgartown under a tent rented from Big Sky Tents. Catering trucks with Nancy’s Restaurant logos were seen entering Turkeyland Cove ahead of the party. The Chilmark Coffee Co. was at the event serving espresso martinis and cold brew. The A list party featured A list amenities such as ice cubes printed with 44×60, the party’s logo.

According to a source who worked at the party, all staff at the event were wearing masks, and many attendees were wearing them, though some photos from the event showed a dancing Obama without one. The Times was told there were an estimated 100 to 150 people at the event.

Obama was spotted at the Winnetu on Friday with several guests, and at brunch at Beach Road restaurant in Vineyard Haven on Sunday.

Martha’s Vineyard Airport director Geoff Freeman said it was a particularly busy weekend for the Island airport. “There was a significant uptick in jet traffic tied to that specific event,” Freeman said of the birthday party. 

Freeman said there were “quite a few” people of note coming in on private jets, but that it was hard to identify people wearing masks. He also said some people had government or private security protection. Fuel sales also saw a jump.

He added that some of the private jets violated a voluntary noise curfew at the airport, which is from 10 pm to 6 am.

“Thankfully it wasn’t the full party that was originally planned, because it would have definitely overwhelmed this airport,” Freeman said.

Despite published reports that the party caused a traffic snarl in Oak Bluffs (sorry New York Post, the party was in Edgartown), Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee told The Times that traffic was manageable on Slough Cove Road.

“We made accommodations,” McNamee said. “There was some offsite parking … we were stationed at a checkpoint down the street.”

There was heightened security at the party, according to a source. Edgartown Police posted on Twitter that a no-fly zone for drones was established on Saturday.

The original guest list included 475 people and 200-plus staff, but was “significantly” scaled back due to concerns about the spread of the Delta variant


  1. But Trump can hold a convention with not one person wearing a mask and I’m sure there was more than 475 people in attendance. Leave the Obama’s alone and mind your business. You weren’t invited so you don’t have to worry about catching anything. #justjealous

  2. Hey Valerie…plenty of pictures from the party with people not wearing masks so what’s your point ? Who are the hypocrites ? All of them !

    • At least they did not drink bleach.
      At least they were required to be vaccinated.
      Something that so many TrumpHumpers refuse to do.

    • The hypocrites are the people who refuse to get vaccinated.
      Until they get Covid, then they cry themselves to death.

  3. Too bad that everyone over 12 isn’t required to show proof of vaccination or a current negative test to enter the Ag Fair next week. Anyone taking bets if the Ag Society will require masks to be worn at all times on the fairgrounds? My money is on NO.

      • Right, Kevin, wouldn’t want to suppress the unvaxed, unmasked, or any delta-spreading attendees. Let the crowds co-mingle their “freedoms” without masks, tests, or vaccine proof. Who cares about 5 year olds, anyway? It’s far more important and helpful to the community to carry on with outrage over a birthday party where everyone was vaxed or tested, and rich.

      • Kevin, we want to suppress the virus, not people. It has been a jerk. It is not invited to enjoy fried dough and the chance to blow its life savings on winning a 4″ stuffed alpaca. All humans would still be welcome. They would just need to agree to leave COVID at home.

        This is affecting children. If some aren’t fond of rules, then let’s do the right thing voluntarily.


      • Suppressing attendance? Requiring masks for all on the fairgrounds? Not what I read. I read they are now requiring masks in tents and indoors, but only asking unvaxed to be masked on the outside fairgrounds. Antivaxers are so compliant with being responsible, I’m sure we can count on them being honorable and wearing masks on line next to you and in your face waiting for burgers. That’s why the island is doing so great with all these new cases🙁

  4. This just shows how lonely someone can be that they have to have this sort of excess for a birthday party. 60 is a mile stone year for some and I understand having an event but no one has that many real friends that was all about networking and trying to impress. This was the shallow event party for the shallow people of the world. I wonder what the carbon footprint of this event was? For pleasure trips into space and huge parties carbon footprint does not matter. But let’s make all Cars electric.

    • Boy, hard to ascertain your political affiliation from your message. Shaming the guy for a birthday party? Get real.

      Not a hill I’d reside on considering your guy’s proclivities.

    • Bob- I find it quite refreshing that many of the climate deniers here are actually talking about excessive amounts of carbon, and the carbon footprint of these people.
      It’s like you people are starting to get ‘woke” about this.
      So now, since you and your ilk seem to be concerned about carbon footprints. let’s compare it to some other events–
      The Mercedes Benz stadium in New Orleans has a seating capacity of 71,000 . it hosted the super bowl in 2019 — ( Before the pandemic) and was obviously sold out. I would think that more than a few of the fans there were not from New Orleans, given that the teams were from New England and Los Angeles.
      I wonder how they got there ?
      I wonder if they all rode their bicycles?
      So let me ask– which event do you think had a larger carbon footprint ?
      Did you hear all the “liberals” complaining about it ?
      Did you hear all the climate denying conservatives complaining about it ?
      And let ask you one more question , Bob– Which do you think was a more “shallow” event?
      I personally think think spending thousands of dollars and travelling thousands of miles to watch 22 millionaires chase a piece of a dead pig around is pretty shallow.
      And it has a hell of a carbon footprint..
      Not that anyone ever worried about that …
      Did someone mention that there is some hypocrisy going on here ?

    • Does President Obama have a LOVEME rally every week, with 5,000 unmasked mouth-breathers crammed into an indoor venue, elbow to *ssh*le, every week, that he charges admission to?
      Didn’t think so.

    • I wonder what the carbon footprint was too. Sounds like a good pilot program to study. Otherwise, happy 60th.

  5. The biggest problem is how tone deaf this is. Wrong or right doesn’t matter to be but this party is stupid because it will be used by the right and it will cost democrats vote in future elections. I have no doubt about this which is why I am pissed about this. Just stupid.

  6. You still dont get it Keller. Hypocrisy is if you do it even though you say its not good. Doing it when you dont care is not hypocrisy. Elites who fly around the world in private jets but are hysterical about climate are hypocrites. If I see you idling a 440 horsepower car outside of Cronigs you are a hypocrite. If I dont care about the climate I might be foolish but I am not a hypocrite for having a gas guzzler. Do you get it? Maybe not.

    • Andy— Show me where any of the “elites” you talk about have lectured us about our carbon footprint, or told us that we all had to wear masks ? Or drive electric cars..
      Could you find the quotes for us, where George Clooney said that we need to wear masks after we are vaccinated and the CDC dropped it’s recommendation that we do that ?
      Show me the quote where Tom Hanks tells us all to get electric cars ?
      How about Obama himself ? Did Spike Lee have anything to do with Shirley’s Requiring a mask to get in the store ?
      Did Steven Spielberg convince Steve Bernier to require masks in Cronigs ?
      Your comment that “Elites who fly around the world in private jets but are hysterical about climate are hypocrites” — yeah . Andrew– show me the videos of all these “hysterical” elites being hysterical about the climate.

      Was Charlie Baker there ? Anthony Fauci ? Omar Johnson ?
      Any of the local public health officials that put out the stop work order for 6 weeks in March of 2020 ?
      Get it right about who imposed all the restrictions on your “FREEDOM”
      NONE of the people at that party had anything to do with those decisions.
      You know it, I know it, and you just hate Obama. Man up and tell us Andy.
      Did you complain when trump had his “rallies” last year ? He bragged about having thousands of people jammed into arena after arena– did you call for the papers to report on who was there and how long they had their masks off ? Haven’t you been telling us for the last few months at every chance you get that the pandemic is over ? If it’s over, why are you so hysterical about this party ?

      Engelman– you say I still don’t get it, but you are the one who can’t see hypocrisy when it stares at you in the mirror.

      • Elites ? Guess you don’t consider our erstwhile Climate Czar John Kerry to be in that category ? The reports indicate the double talking Kerry was present at Obama’s clown show extravaganza.

        • EJ — Can you tell me what Kerry has done to affect you personally ?
          Perhaps your car gets better gas mileage because the CAFE standards were raised ?
          Have you noticed that you do not often drive behind vehicles that spew toxic smoke out of their tailpipes ?
          Why do you think that is ???
          When was the last time a river caught fire in the United States ?
          So tell me EJ, since Andy won’t answer my question, what has Kerry done that is so horrible ? How has anything these “elites” have done affected you ? — Simple question… Answer it– should be easy…
          But I think that the bottom line here is that you and Andrew and a few other middle class people have what Neil Bortz called “wealth envy” .. Get over it, EJ– there are rich people in the world, and if you don’t like it, vote a straight democratic ticket.
          Elizabeth Warren might help tone down the “elites”

    • Well, ENGELMAN, it’s a good thing you don’t hate Obama or care about his party as you’ve mentioned so many times. Otherwise, your hysteria in probably a dozen comments you’ve written over every aspect of every report in this paper might sound, you know, hypocritical. I’m mean, it’s a REALLY good thing.

    • Kay– you never had a birthday party ?
      You should try it sometime.
      It’s a nice thing, especially after a years worth of “lockdown” ,as some hysterical people call it ,to get together with some of your friends and relatives.
      Just because Obama is wealthy, and has a bunch of wealthy friends, does not give any of us the “moral high ground” to call a sixtieth ( not sixteenth) birthday party ridiculous .
      At least Obama made his wealth on his own. — He didn’t even get a “small” loan of a few million dollars ( or perhaps 400 million depending on the source) from his father. And we know that Obama actually pays taxes on the money he earns.
      He also has never declared bankruptcy, and has never been sued for not paying people who work for him, and does not have dozens of women who allege he sexually harassed, inappropriately touched, groped, grabbed them by their private parts, forcibly kissed any women or outright raped one. Nor has Obama paid off porn stars to keep quiet about consensual sex while his wife was recovering from childbirth.
      He deserves a party.
      Party on Barack — the island can use the money your wealthy friends will spend here.
      Ridiculous indeed.

  7. R Scott Patterson – Anyone who decides not to vote against an entire political party because of a birthday party is a)never going to vote Dem anyway and b)one of the main reasons our political system is broken. Either way it has nothing to do with Obama or his birthday party.

  8. HAPPY 60th 44 !! Hope it was a blast!!

  9. Some of you people making comments on president Obama’s birthday party, really sound ridiculous, please get a life….And leave the Obama’s alone please…..Happy Birthday!! President Obama hope you had a great time at your birthday party 🎉🎉🎈🥳🎊🎁🎉🎉

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