Aquinnah: Thank you, everyone!

— Kyra Steck

The Fourth of July in Aquinnah was delightful; thanks to everyone who participated in planning and executing the parade and the picnic that followed. Thanks especially to Gabbi Camilleri for all she did for our first town picnic. She put a lot of work into it, and it was a wonderful event. The Smith family cooked over the grill, with Gary Haley overseeing as the executive chef. Caroline Feltz helped to serve food. Chief Simon Bolin and his department were instrumental in delivering picnic tables and arranging for grills and coolers, and Jay Smalley helped deliver them. The Gay Head Store donated 30 children’s beach pails and shovels, John Patton and Lisa Donahue bought and packaged 150 bags of candy, and the Sullivan family contributed as well. Morgan Hodgson and others brought baked goods. Thank you, everyone!

Congratulations to the Outermost Inn, Alex, Isaac, and Noli Taylor, for being selected as the Best Decorated Vehicle, and thanks to everyone who decorated their vehicles and participated in the parade. We seriously have the best small town Fourth of July thing going. I know I said I wasn’t going to participate this year, but I can’t miss our parade, it’s the only parade I really like.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center (ACC) is running full tilt this season. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 am to 4 pm. Come by for a self-guided tour, or have a docent take you through the museum. Their current exhibit is “Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America,” which will be up for one month only, so make sure you see it. Wampanoag people have inhabited the Northeastern U.S. for more than 12,000 years, including right here on Martha’s Vineyard. This wampum exhibit, curated and assembled by Wampanoag and Nipmuc artists and educators, tells a story of Wampanoag resilience — Wampanoag art, culture, stories, and ideas.

Congratulations to NaDaizja Bolling, who is the new program director of the ACC. NaDaizja is an Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member, and granddaughter of Cully Vanderhoop.

This is a big weekend for the ACC; on Saturday they will hold the 15th annual Native American Artisan Market from 11 am to 4 pm, at the Aquinnah Circle. Rain date is Sunday, July 17. There are always wonderful local artisans, and others from farther away, and of course, good food. The day coincides with Aquinnah Public Safety Day, also held at the Circle, where you can come and get a tour of all of our ambulances and fire trucks. It is always a fun day, especially if you have little ones in your crew.

Joan LeLacheur is having an Open Studio on Saturday, July 16, from 11 am to 6 pm at her studio at 42 Old South Road in Aquinnah. She is also available by appointment on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Text her at 508-939-1691 to schedule an appointment.

At the Aquinnah library this Thursday at 5 pm, the Speaker Series will continue with Melissa Larsen. Melissa will explore plants as medicine and family care with herbs in her discussion. Melissa is a certified community herbalist and proprietor of Vineyard Herbs Apothecary. This event will take place on the library deck. Email to register. On Saturday from noon to 3 pm, there are “Drop-in Crafts” for kids. Remember also that summer reading is happening — sign your kids up if you haven’t already. On Thursday, July 21, Jean Stone will discuss her new book, “A Vineyard Wedding,” the fifth in her latest Martha’s Vineyard series. On Saturday, July 30, there will be a summer barbeque at the library from 1:30 to 3:30 pm; stop by on your way to or back from the beach for some yummy food and fellowship.

There is an opportunity to join the Gay Head Lighthouse Team. The lighthouse is open seven days a week in July and August, and they are looking for an Aquinnah resident to fill a part-time position as a guide. Duties include greeting visitors, handling admission fees, and ensuring the security of the property. For more information, contact Deborah Medders at 508-693-1039 or

The town of Aquinnah is looking for people to serve on two committees. The first is the town projects committee, which is involved with planning construction of comfort stations at Aquinnah Circle as well as development of plans for addition and repairs to the Town Hall/town offices. Both projects have moved to the schematic design phase, which will be completed in the coming months. The committee meets as needed. The second is the board of appeals. This committee rarely meets (I feel like this is the real selling point), but is required to complete the permitting process for rental housing on property behind the Town Hall. To volunteer for either committee, call the Town Office at 508-645-2300 or send an email to

I know we will all be at the Native Artisans Festival and Public Safety Day, but the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury will hold their Berry Festival on July 16, from noon to 4 pm. They will have lots of smoothies, shortcake, pies, jams, and a raffle.

Juli Vanderhoop is killing it at the Orange Peel Bakery this summer. On Friday she hosted the Urban Bush Women dance group. The event was sold out well in advance, and cars were lined up along State Road all the way to Lobsterville Road. On Thursdays, Juli has pizzas to order, and on Sundays, there is Sunday dinner. This along with her regular, delicious baked goods. Happy birthday to Ali Mead, who celebrates on July 14, a.k.a. Bastille Day, to Tobias Vanderhoop on July 15, and to Roger Cook on July 17. 

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Molly Purves,