Lanterns of summer


The Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs was filled to capacity Wednesday evening as the Jelly Roll Horns Band serenaded thousands of visitors eager for the kickoff of the 2022 Grand Illumination Night.

The over-150-year tradition has been a late summer staple in Oak Bluffs, having been canceled only once, in 2020. 

As the massive crowd clapped synchronously, this year’s honorary lantern lighter and former Girl Scout, 99-year-old Irene Murdoch, ceremoniously lit the first lantern. The darkened Campground began to glow as lanterns strung from cottage frames illuminated the night.

Jelly Roll Horns resumed its tunes as eventgoers began their stroll through the famous Cottage City Campground. 

Children and adults — often donning light sticks and necklaces — wandered from house to house and marveled at unique lanterns and light designs. Cottage owners and vacationers lined the porches, greeting onlookers as they took pictures of the festival setup.

Originally begun as a way of marking a visit from the governor of Massachusetts, Grand Illumination has become a widely known spectacle that brings visitors, old and new, to the Island every year.


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