After a weekend long July Fourth celebration, the party continued in Vineyard Haven last Thursday night to celebrate Tisbury’s 339th birthday at the annual Tisbury street fair. It was all food, games, music and dance as families packed Main street to enjoy a night out of fun.
Gary Sylvia was standing next to Tisbury engine number 13 at the head of Main street, helping to sell T-shirts to raise money for the fire department as well as troops overseas through the Red Shirt Friday fund.
“There’s a lot of stuff out there,” Mr. Sylvia said, wearing one of the red shirts he was selling. “There are over 100 vendors this year.”
Mr. Sylvia and other firemen listened to Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish playing on the street outside Brickman’s, as a large crowd gathered around the band to dance and enjoy the music. “People know he shows up every year,” Mr. Sylvia said.
One vendor helping to bring more music to Islanders was local radio station 93.7 WVVY. Tara Rose and Rob Myers of the band Kahoots were talking with listeners, looking for possible sponsors and promoting their application for a full-powered license under the Federal Communications Commission.
“We’re enjoying the fair and getting a positive response and good feedback,” Ms. Rose said behind their table. “It’s great to run into local Vineyarders and nice to see their faces out.”
J and D Native Shellfish was shucking clams across from WVVY, and by 8 p.m. had shucked about 1,000 clams. “We’ve gotten a great response,” Jamie Pacheco said of their first year at the fair. “It’s above our expectations.”
Nearby a Brazilian band was playing traditional music, along with capoeira dancers entertaining fair-goers. While people balanced hamburgers and hot dogs in one hand and small children in the other, it was a hot and clear summer evening on Main street.
“The people are loving the food and they’re so happy,” said Nicholas Wilson, executive chef at the Blue Canoe restaurant. In between piping filling into homemade Ã©clairs and talking to patrons, Mr. Wilson was persuading customers to try his food and urged them to visit the restaurant.
The Ã©clairs were no match for the growing fried dough line that stretched 40 people long at times, or the cotton candy line that sent wisps of blue sugar into the air. Cindy Curran was selling pulled pork sandwiches, greeting new and old customers.
“The people are positive and it’s fun,” she said. “I’m having a really good time.”
Children pleaded to their parents to adopt the kittens from the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard in front of the Claudia jewelry store, while others begged for the decorative balloons of dragons and princesses. The rock climbing wall had people of all ages climbing up and down the structure on Union street all night.
Dan Nalven and other Martha’s Vineyard Rotary Club members were selling lobster hats; red claws in the sky could be seen dotting the fair. The club was selling the hats to raise money for local charities, including the hospital and visiting nurse services. “There are a lot of friends and neighbors,” Mr. Nalven said. “It’s a very good fair.”
One newcomer to the fair was Industry O’B, a company that started hosting surf competitions in southern New England but now has turned into a for-profit selling surfwear. “It started in memory of my best friend, Chad O’Brien,” Todd Meleany, founder of the company, said explaining the familiar O’B signage. “We started out hosting surf competitions and we raised $150,000 in his memory.”
Mr. Meleany is from Narragansett, R.I., but has been spending summers on the Vineyard his whole life. He was selling T-shirts, sweat pants and shorts at a table with a surfboard that read “Nothing is Impossible” in front. Mr. Meleany said the money went to creating scholarships for surfers in the community.
Other vendors included the Martha’s Vineyard GOP group selling water, a Help Haiti stall promoting the clambake fundraiser on Friday, the Island Alpaca farm selling goods, a sale rack in front of the Green Room, and raffle stands to support various Island groups.
While people danced in the streets, ate lobster rolls followed by strawberry shortcake, and pushed strollers along the main drag, teenage girls huddled in groups, hoping the boys would come talk to them. With darkness came glow sticks and silly-string attacks, as kids surprised friends and parents from behind, making sure to cover them in pink, green and blue from head to toe.
Ljuba Dava was standing in line for a sausage and pepper sandwich from one of the fire department food stands. “It’s a terrific, wonderful, good time,” Ms. Dava said. While she was enjoying the fun and good eats, Ms. Dava was most enjoying her fellow revelers. “The good vibe is my favorite thing; it’s delightful to see.”