Edgartown Christmas Weekend Kicks Off Season of Festivities


A stroll down Main street in Edgartown during the past week might
not have brought to mind many thoughts of Christmas.

Despite the garland-wrapped lampposts and the door-hung wreaths with
red bows, the few pedestrians that were out wore short sleeves. And the
local UPS man was working up a sweat delivering boxes of inventory to
local shops - wearing shorts. The sidewalks have been anything but
crowded and parking has been a cinch.

Of course, reminded one shop owner, it is still the very beginning
of December. The bare trees in town are letting through warm air and
sunshine rather than the chilly offshore breeze common in December.
Where's the cold air and snow, the people scurrying down Main
street wearing scarves and peacoats?

Whether winter as New Englanders know it ever arrives, the Christmas
in Edgartown starts tonight, kicking off a long list of Island holiday
events. Groups have organized a variety of activities to heighten the
holiday spirit.

Starting at 2 p.m. today, for example, eight Edgartown inns will
open their doors to the community, displaying festive décor and
sharing holiday cheer. At 6 p.m., in the Baylies Room of the Old Whaling
Church, The Yard colony for performing artists will host a traditional
holiday supper and auction to benefit its community arts education
program. Their popular multicultural programs range from community
classes to main stage events.

At 6:30 p.m., the Edgartown lighthouse will be surrounded by candles
and carolers for its annual lighting ceremony. Over in Tisbury, the
musical Arthur's Christmas will be performed at 7:30 p.m. at the
Vineyard Playhouse (and again Saturday night, then Sunday at 2 p.m.).

Saturday's events bring more of an historic flavor to the
weekend. The Anchors in Edgartown hosts an old-fashioned holiday
celebration starting at 9:30 a.m. A holiday bazaar with silent auction
lasting until 1 p.m, the Anchors' event will help support the
senior center.

At 10 a.m. the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society opens its
doors to the public and keeps them open until 5 p.m. with refreshments
and a great opportunity to get a taste of Island heritage by browsing
the many exhibits. For do-it-yourselfers, Donoroma's on upper Main
street will hold a wreath-making workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For those who prefer to give a handcrafted gift, the Edgartown
School will be throwing a holiday crafts fair, also from 10 a.m. to 2
p.m. On display will be gifts and art from more than 40 Island vendors.

Of course, at 11 a.m. all attention will turns to Edgartown's
annual holiday parade. Creative floats, antique cars, school children,
members of the Vineyard Haven band and many others will meander down
Main street, spreading holiday spirit throughout the town.

More historic flavor will abound in Vineyard Haven, where free
horse-drawn carriage rides are offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then the
Minnesingers kick off evening events back in Edgartown with a family
concert at 4 p.m. at the Whaling Church.

After that, gentlemen should find their favorite ladies and head to
the annual Christmas Ball at the Harbor View Hotel. All food and
services are donated by local businesses, and proceeds benefit the
Martha's Vineyard Boys' and Girls' Club. Beginning at
7 p.m. with a cocktail reception, the elegant evening features a
four-course holiday dinner and concludes with hours of live band

Kids: be sure to get up early enough on Sunday morning to join Santa
Claus for breakfast at the Wharf Pub. With his hectic schedule, he can
only be there from 8:30 to 11 a.m. A Wharf employee has confirmed that
it is the real Santa Claus, and that he will be leaving at 11 a.m. sharp
to return to his seasonal work. All proceeds from breakfast, including
$3 photos with Santa, will benefit the Martha's Vineyard Chamber
of Commerce Educational and Charitable Foundation Scholarship Fund.

It is a weekend filled with fun holiday events, offering tons to do
for everyone of all ages. Most planned events benefit a worthy cause;
the aforementioned are only a few that fill the Island calendar. So get
out and participate in all that is Christmas in Edgartown and the real
start of the holiday season on the Island.