On Wednesday, August 20, the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs will turn into a fantasy land of Victorian gingerbread houses, narrow walkways and hundreds of paper lanterns hanging from porches. Welcome once again to the Grand Illumination.
The evening begins with a community sing in the Tabernacle. After the sing, when dusk arrives, the first lantern will be lit. As per tradition, this honor goes to the oldest member of the Camp Ground and will be kept secret until the final moment.
The event dates back to 1868 when paper lanterns from Japan and China were inexpensive ornaments. Some Camp Ground residents will stroll the neighborhood in period dress, others no doubt will still be in shorts and T-shirts after a day at the beach.
Grand Illumination is traditionally held on the third Wednesday of August, which means it not only celebrates the summer but signals the winding down of the season as well. It falls on the calendar near the annual Agricultural Fair and the Oak Bluffs fireworks.
It is not to be missed.