Tomorrow calls for an all-Island end of summer celebration and Oak Bluffs is the host.
Organizers of the 30th annual Tivoli Day want the rest of the Island to know their party belongs to the whole Island. Nothing better would please Dennis daRosa and Bob Glover than to see their friends from around the Vineyard turn out for the events planned.
In addition to the street fair on Circuit avenue, there is a parade, an antique bicycle performance and serious and not-so-serious kite flying at Ocean Park.
“Now that the crowds of summer are gone, this is an opportunity for Islanders to come out and have a post-summer celebration,” said Mr. Glover, executive director of the Oak Bluffs Association.
This is Mr. Glover’s second year as executive director. For him, tomorrow is showtime. He said he has worked with a lot of Oak Bluffs friends to commit to making Tivoli Day a growing event.
For Mr. daRosa, the event has a tradition of its own. Mr. daRosa is president of the Oak Bluffs Association and chairman of the day’s festivities. He has fond memories of Tivoli’s early years, when there was serious bicycle racing and a block dance.
Tivoli Day begins at noon with a parade. Leading the parade will be Wheelmen, cyclists riding antique bicycles. These are bicycles that are over a hundred years old in design and are ridden by an association of antique bicycle collectors.
A pirate ship made on Island and captained by Jack Sparrow also will participate. The ship made its debut in the Fourth of July parade.
Children will march in the parade towing wagons, and pushing carriages and walkers. Parents and children are encouraged to make their own floats.
In mid-afternoon, a waiter and waitress race will take place. The event is called Wait Person Olympics. Participants are timed on how well they can carry containers of water without spilling.
In Ocean Park, there will be kite flying. Archie Stewart, a New England kite flyer of note, will be flying his kites. Mr. Stewart comes from Chestnut Hill and has been traveling around New England for years promoting the hobby.
Circuit avenue will be made over like a block party, with the sidewalks lined with merchant booths. Mr. Glover said more than 90 per cent of the merchants are local, with a few coming from afar. Youngsters will have an opportunity to line up for face painting. There will be plenty of food, too.
Radio station WMVY will be providing a live broadcast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Musicians Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will begin performing at 1 p.m. Tall Richard, a harmonica player and singer, will perform with his band, the Vineyard Voodoo Kings.
For Mr. daRosa, the Saturday event brings back memories of how it all started. He and his brother Tony run daRosa’s — Martha’s Vineyard Printing Co. He said the event was created by Ed Coogan and Michael Wild, two men once deeply rooted in the community.
“Their idea was to create a day after Labor Day for Islanders and visitors to have fun without the intense crowds and traffic of mid summer,” he said. “Back then, after Labor Day, many stores and restaurants closed and the Island got quiet very quickly. It was an attempt to lengthen the season.”
Today, he noted the season of summer does continue well into fall, but the purpose of fellowship still continues. It is like the Tisbury Street Fair, in that it brings people together downtown; but in this case it is an event for year-round residents put on mostly by year-round residents.
For many of those who work hard in the summer, the fair in West Tisbury is a late-summer chance to see old friends. Tivoli Day is very much like that, but does come after Labor Day.
“Tivoli Day is named after the infamous Tivoli building where decades of dancing, shows and gatherings occurred,” Mr. daRosa said. The police station stands where the old building stood.
Today, Mr. daRosa said: “Tivoli Day is the premier off-peak season single day event.”
Coincidentally, without fanfare, Oak Bluffs is observing a centennial this year. In January of 1907, the young town’s name was changed from Cottage City to Oak Bluffs by the state legislature.