Tomorrow is party time in Oak Bluffs. From noon well into night, the town will celebrate the arrival of summer. There will be fireworks at night, a show that organizers say will rival the way Oak Bluffs celebrates the end of summer in August.
The day marks the merger of two big events in the season: the first day of summer, and the 17th annual Harbor Festival.
“We have two big events tomorrow and the thought arose, why not put Oak Bluffs on the map this summer and celebrate both at the same time?” said Renee Balter, vice president of the Oak Bluffs Association. “We are trying something new.”
The big story of the day is the fireworks at night. The Oak Bluffs Association is bringing Atlas PyroVision Productions, a company located in Jaffrey, N.H., that puts on big fireworks shows.
Showtime is around 9:30 p.m., or when it is dark enough.
The rain date for the festivities is Sunday. WMVY will air reports after 9 a.m. Saturday should a postponement be necessary.
Atlas PyroVision does a lot of shows around New England. In August the company is providing a show for the annual Boston Pops concert in Barnstable. Atlas PyroVision has its own barge and will fire the fireworks remotely away from the beach.
Stephen Pelkey, president of the pytrotechnic company, said Atlas PyroVision has a new barge, the SS Master Blaster, that was specially built for offshore displays. The barge is 30 feet long, eight feet wide and is transported by truck.
The fireworks are shot remotely through electronic control. The button pushing takes place aboard a boat 150 feet away from the barge.
“We have specialty events that we think are unique. We do pastel colors, strobbing effects, fanning motion,” Mr. Pelkey said. The specialty shells come from as faraway as Spain and China.
He said the show will last about 20 minutes.
Atlas PyroVision is the same company that provided Fourth of July fireworks for Edgartown last year.
Dennis da Rosa, president of the Oak Bluffs Association, said: “It is all about having fun. This reinforces the Oak Bluffs Association’s commitment to create events from spring through to fall, to give our friends a good time in Oak Bluffs.”
Tomorrow’s festivities begin with the annual harbor festival at noon. More than 50 artisans and vendors will display crafts and trinkets along the harborfront. Nancy’s Snack Bar will host The Jon Bates Band and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. There will be a U.S. Coast Guard safety demonstration and pony rides for the young.
Sidewalk Sam, a Boston-based artist also known as Robert Charles Guillemin who uses the cement and asphalt of sidewalks as his canvas for chalk drawings, will demonstrate his craft.
At 6 p.m., Circuit avenue will shut down to vehicular traffic and become a promenade. Five or six restaurants along the street will open their doors and serve alfresco meals.
There will be live music outside.
For the big conclusion, a gala fireworks show, Ocean Park will be the place to be seated
Mrs. Balter said the Oak Bluffs community has stepped forward to help make the day a day of celebration.
“We have everything here in Oak Bluffs. We have everything concentrated in a historic neighborhood, an active harbor, plenty of great restaurants. We’ve got this big event. Everybody wins,” Mrs. Balter said.
“This town is crying out for wonderful things to happen this summer and this will happen,” Mrs. Balter said. The business community has stepped forward to promote the town and fund the party. “We’ve received contributions from $100 to several hundred dollars.”
The first Harbor Festival was held on Columbus Day in 1991 to draw attention to one of the town’s great public assets, its harbor. The event was moved into June and became the hallmark event for the start of summer.
Even using one of the town’s parking lots for the fireworks supports the summer in Oak Bluffs.
Waban Park and the park at Sunset Lake will be transformed into parking lots to accommodate all who come. The fee for parking will help pay for the fireworks being offered this August by the Oak Bluffs Fireman’s Civic Association.