This evening kicks off the first annual Martha’s Vineyard Harvest Festival, a weekend event celebrating the sea, the farm and the vine. The festival, sponsored by the Edgartown Board of Trade, will showcase Island and mainland chefs using Island-grown produce alongside wines from around the world. “We wanted to create an event unique to the Vineyard that celebrated the shoulder season,” said festival director Debbi Otto.
The festival begins tonight with a party at the Hob Knob Inn, followed by a sumptuous dinner featuring local oysters. Guest chef Chris Schlesinger from the East Coast Grill & Raw Bar in Cambridge is cooking up variations on oysters and Our Market in Oak Bluffs will pair each with wine. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
On Saturday, events continue with an afternoon devoted to nibbling: The Sumptuous Stroll begins at 1 p.m. and goes until 5 p.m. Guests can watch on as Island chefs Christian Thornton, Michael Brisson and Kevin Crowell, along with Boston chef Tom Berry, give cooking demonstrations, sipping and snacking their way along the grounds of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Also on Saturday, the festival gives a nod to the environment with a seminar on ‘green’ wines. The panel discussion will feature winemakers who seek to create environmentally-friendly drink, including of course a tasting of the green wines. “We are working on becoming green,” added Ms. Otto, who said to watch for pellet grills on display from Vineyard Alternative Heating.
Other highlights include cheese seminars, free boat rides around Katama Bay, and a panel discussion on the history of the cocktail called There’ll Be No Wining. “It will be so much fun,” Ms. Otto said. Dinners at mystery locations round out the offerings on Saturday. “The homes are a surprise,” Ms. Otto said.
Most of the events require tickets, which can be purchased on the Harvest Festival’s Web site, mvharvest.org. Prices range from $500 for the mystery dinners to $35 for the welcome event. Tickets were still available at press time.
Amy Houghton, development director at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, said that throughout the festival, the museum would have booths set up displaying articles and pamphlets on the history of farming, fishing and agriculture on the Vineyard.
“What makes this different from other festivals is that, yes, we have wine made here, but we also have agriculture and fishing. We are lucky; we are able to use local produce,” Ms. Houghton said.