Edgartown puts town picnic on hold

With COVID-19 numbers up, health board concludes now is not the time to celebrate.

Edgartown has put its celebration of the 350th birthday on hold. -Rich Saltzberg

The Edgartown board of health has recommended the town postpone its 350th birthday celebration, saying that the health risk at the moment is too great.

The decision comes as the Island is in the midst of an uptick in COVID-19 cases that has triggered towns across the Island to issue indoor mask mandates, and two towns — West Tisbury and Aquinnah — to require town employees to be vaccinated.

Edgartown joins Tisbury, which also turned 350 this year, in postponing the celebration. The town picnic in Edgartown had been scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 12. The select board heard a report on the picnic Monday, but deferred to the health board to make a decision on whether to move forward with the plans for a barbecue, music, and a beer garden.

Health agent Matt Poole said the Island averaged 11 cases per day last week, and is on track to have about the same number of cases this week. With that in mind, he suggested now is not the right time to hold the celebration.

“I’m inclined to recommend to the board that we recommend to the selectmen that they postpone to a date when we have more confidence and more comfort in our daily caseload,” Poole said. “I would recommend a postponement to a date when we can actually have a positive, celebratory atmosphere, where we can interact comfortably, and where we can appreciate the fact that we’ve been doing this for 350 years.”

He got no argument from health board members, and none from members of the Edgartown Board of Trade, who are helping to organize the event.

While executive director Erin Ready’s feed was cutting out as she spoke, Edgartown Board of Trade vice president Julia Tarka said the business organization is willing to do what’s best for the community. “We’re happy to do whatever the board of health thinks is safest,” she said. “We’re hoping to engage families, so we certainly don’t want to be putting anyone in jeopardy. We look forward to doing that sometime next year.”

Poole suggested that they keep their options open. If the numbers improve, the town could look to hold something during the holiday weekend in October, he said.

“The best part of this event is that it can take place at any time,” Tarka said.


  1. Im very grateful to live in a community that considers the data and science, and puts the health and safety of the citizens above all else. Sadly, many Americans are battling their state & local governments to put life above politics and quackery.

  2. let me express an opinion here ;
    This event was put on hold because about 20,000 people in 3 states voted for trump instead of Hillary in 2016.
    Think about it.
    Elections have consequences.

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