‘Brazil Fest/Festa do Brasil: A Celebration of Unity, Diversity and Rural Culture’


The Island community is gearing up for a rural celebration of unity and diversity with the inaugural Brazil Fest/Festa do Brasil, to be held 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday, June 16, at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. Organized by M.V. Mediation, the Building Bridges Coalition is made up of local organizations and individuals who share a vision of fostering inclusivity, and appreciation for the cultural mosaic that defines the Island community. The festival promises to be a fun-filled day celebrating the rich Brazilian and rural cultures, traditions, and talents that make up our diverse community.
Sara Barnes, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program (MVMP), wrote in an email, “Each year we look across the Island for patterns of unresolved conflicts. For the past five years we have also analyzed our work and the Island’s growth opportunities in diversity, equity, and inclusion … When we provide services such as mediation or facilitation to Brazilians on the Island, we have noted their experiences of being targets of racism and ‘othering’ by non-Brazilians.” Barnes explained when they ran the idea of focusing on the Brazilian community past the advisory board and staff members, two Brazilian members “thought about a rural festival that is held all over Brazil, and they asked: Could we replicate that festival here?” MVMP applied for a Rural Empowerment grant from the National Association for Community Mediation, and they decided to combine the grant with a festival, adding core partners the Ag Society, the Chamber of Commerce, and a strong cadre of Brazilian Islanders.
This first-ever family-friendly event takes place on Father’s Day, and is geared to fathers and families, featuring an array of fun activities, performances, and experiences that highlight the unique flavors and sounds of Brazil, coupled with some familiar local Island favorites.
Immerse yourself in the rhythms of traditional and local rural music and dance performances. There will be DJs and live performances from a Brazilian ’80s rock and roll band, bossa nova/jazz from the Lucas Ostinato Trio, to Blue Yonder, an Island band. There will be Brazilian traditional square dancing, called quadrilha.
Enjoy a selection of food vendors offering delicious dishes from various cultures. Whether you crave a savory Brazilian snack like coxinha or cheese bread from Sweet Bites, a bit of spice from Chef Deon’s Kitchen, or ice cream from Mad Martha’s and açai and Brazilian lemonade from Aquila, you’ll find it all at the festival.
Keep the little ones entertained with a range of activities, including arts and crafts, games, face-painting, farm animal meet-and-greet, and storytelling sessions. There will be special activities celebrating Father’s Day, and lots for tweens and teens to explore and enjoy, including tug of war, and potato-sack and three-legged races.
Attendees can connect with local organizations and community groups committed to making a positive impact. Learn about volunteer opportunities and resources available to support our community.
“We are thrilled to invite residents and visitors alike to come together and celebrate the rich diversity of our community. Thanks to the members of the Building Bridges Coalition, we are making connections between disconnected groups,” Barnes says. “This festival is a testament to the strength of our unity and the beauty of our differences. It’s an opportunity to build bridges, forge connections, and create lasting memories.”
Admission to the festival and activities is free, with donations welcome to support future community initiatives.

For more information and updates, follow M.V. Mediation on social media: Instagram @mvmediation, Facebook @mvmediationprogram.