Return to Tivoli Day

The town of Oak Bluffs, planning a new celebration at the end of summer in 1978, turned to its own history and took the name of Tivoli from the community arcade building that was the pride of the town and the center of its nightlife at the lively turn of the century. Since 1978, Tivoli Day has taken root as a favorite celebration in the afterglow of the Labor Day holiday, a festive landmark placed squarely at the intersection of Island summer and fall.

Tivoli Day has all the energy of the Tisbury Street Fair, the birthday celebration held each year in neighboring Vineyard Haven. But the street fair dances to the rhythms of July, while Tivoli moves to those of September. This is a profound difference: No matter how crowded Circuit avenue gets during the height of festivities tomorrow afternoon, there will always be that sense of extra ease and spaciousness that September brings to life on the Vineyard.

Tomorrow Circuit avenue will close down to auto traffic from nine o’clock in the morning to six o’clock in the evening, and beginning at noon the avenue will become a festive block party replete with music, food and good fellowship. Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, a favorite Vineyard blues band, will rock the avenue and there will be plenty of other entertainment including kite flying, an antique bicycle show, a waiter and waitress Olympics and — a pirate ship? It remains unclear how the ship will navigate to Circuit avenue — but that is part of the adventure: you’ll have to come to find out.

We can’t imagine a better time for Tivoli Day than now at the midpoint of September, when the air is crisp and clear, the frantic edge of the summer season has begun to soften and Islanders can look forward to catching up with old friends and comparing answers to that favorite question, “How was your summer?”

Tivoli Day comes at the perfect place and in the perfect moment. Look forward to seeing you there.