David Corbitt of Indianapolis discovered Oak Bluffs this weekend. A second-year law student, Mr. Corbitt traveled here at the urging of a college friend.

Serena Henry came from Atlanta, and Phyllis Buford came from St. Louis, with her family. She joined friends from Kansas City, Mo.

Bobby Hall traveled here from Florida, and he had a great time.

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” said Mr. Hall, who joined about 800 people Friday night for live music, dancing and sunset at Inkwell Beach.

This was Oak Bluffs’ first Independence Day-Juneteenth celebration. It happened at Inkwell Beach and the Oak Bluffs School, and it drew people from all over.

The events celebrated Juneteenth, the anniversary of the date that slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation. They were also intended as a way of alleviating the heavy crowds that congregate on Circuit avenue over the Fourth of July.

But for the people who came, it was all simply a way to enjoy food, live music and company.

“I hope they keep it going like this,” said Mr. Hall. “It’s getting people together to have a good time. No craziness. Just people meeting people. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Organizers estimate that between 1,000 and 2,000 people attended Friday’s beach party and concert. About 500 people attended Saturday’s dance. Both events were produced by RDM Productions of Roxbury.

The weekend was coordinated by Bob and Michele Holland of Oak Bluffs and their organizations, the town’s Multicultural Advisory Program and the Island’s Million Man Association. Questioned yesterday, Mrs. Holland said she thought the events went well.

“One of my Cottagers’ friends said her daughter went over to the beach party and she had a ball,” she said. “There are things to be ironed out, but all in all, I think everything went well.”

Police chief George Fisher agreed.

Mr. Fisher said there were some minor problems with noise, traffic and alcohol. But in general, the events went well and helped thin out the crowds downtown, he said.

“The steps the town took to establish activities on the beach and the school had a large impact on the crowds on Circuit avenue,” he said. “We did have some complaints about noise and behavior and traffic from neighbors of the beach party, but all in all, considering the number of people that were there, I think it was a success. I think we’re going in the right direction.

“It did what we hoped it would do. It gave people something to do. I saw people having a good time, and I think the event itself is worth doing again.”

Last year’s Fourth of July crowd was so big that it sparked a great deal of debate about crowd management, the conduct of visitors and friction between visitors and townspeople. A few of these conversations took on racial overtones, when some African-American guests said they were uncomfortable with certain police procedures, and one Edgartown resident wrote a letter complaining about the large number of people who came after hearing about the Island from magazines such as Ebony and Jet.

This year’s holiday was different for a number of reasons. Police changed some procedures. Signs posted downtown educated visitors about bylaws on alcohol and noise. Members of the Million Man Association circulated through the streets to assist guests. And the Hollands organized these two large events, with the support of town officials, to help draw crowds away from Circuit avenue.

Questioned at the gatherings, many guests said they were unaware of past controversy. They like coming to the Island because people here are friendly.

“I like the laid back atmosphere,” said Preston Forestor, a Kansas City doctor who attended the Inkwell party. “The people are very nice, kind, courteous. You don’t have to worry about someone ripping you off -- it’s not like Kansas City. You can trust your neighbors. You don’t have to wear a $300 outfit. You don’t have to impress anybody. People take you for what you are.”

Serena Henry, who works as a Spanish-English translator, agreed. This was her first trip to the Vineyard, and she enjoyed the party at Inkwell.

“I can’t believe I never knew about this before,” she said. “The weather’s great. The water’s great. The people are very friendly. The races mix, and there’s no tension. I didn’t feel any. Everyone was really nice, people walking by, in the restaurants. The police were wonderful.”

The party featured live performers and the scent of food being grilled. The event prohibited alcohol and smoking, and guests were invited to take health literature from a display. Two Boston entertainers performed: Just IV and Freestyle Poetic & Friends. Parents brought small children, and parents such as Phyllis Buford showed up looking for their grown children.

Mrs. Buford said she’s been coming to Oak Bluffs for 30 years. She enjoys the Island’s natural resources and its cultural diversity.

“Being an African-American, it’s a place where I can come see other African-Americans and not just be one,” she said, adding that this weekend she sighted Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. from the porch of the Nashua House.

On Saturday, the scene at the school was lively. People danced to the music of Boston performers Chemistry, Talia and Unique Style. The Hollands served generous portions of food in the school kitchen, and Warren Brittle, 22, said the event was “lovely.”

Mr. Brittle, whose grandmother owns an Oak Bluffs home, said he enjoys coming from Boston for Oak Bluffs summers.

“It’s different,” he said. “Everyone interacts with each other. It’s like you get away from the city, the city mentality.”

Similarly, David Corbitt came because of a college friend, who is a long-time Oak Bluffs visitor. They had a good time.

“I love it,” said Mr. Corbitt, after posing for a Polaroid with friends.

“I really like it. People here are friendly. They welcome people. I’m going to be here every year.”