Built on Stilts, the Vineyard’s homegrown dance festival, opens on Thursday, August 12, at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs and continues through Sunday and again the following weekend, August 21 to 23.

Each night’s program begins with drumming at 7:30 p.m. (all acoustic musicians are invited to join in) and dance performances at 8. The program is different each night.

As ever, the shows are free to the public, and audiences many come and go as they please. Donations at the door are strongly encouraged. No reservations necessary.

What began in 1997 as a one-night concert featuring the work of seven choreographers has ballooned into a week-long extravaganza reflecting the Island’s remarkable artistic spirit. Built on Stilts now programs over 40 groups from near and far, of all ages and styles. The festival is defined by its collective energy and creative output. With its all-inclusive philosophy, Built on Stilts lures professional participants to experiment, and fledgling performers discovering the joy of making dances.

This year’s festival features the work of: Refractions Dance Collective, Kristi Shopfer, Rebecca Sproul, Stefanie Nelson, Kellie Ann Lynch, Joan Wiegers, Andrew Jacobs, Autumn Anna Luckey, Christina Reppert, Carol Loud, Suzanna Nickerson, Caryn Gass, Charles Gushue, Christina Bellinsky, Sarah Hitti, Tom Carberry and Janet Holladay, Ballroom Dance MV, Abby Bender, Kate Cecilio, CONNetic Dancer, Laura Sargent Hall, Naomi Goldberg Haas and Sandy Broyard, Roberta Kirn, Devon Lodge, Anna Markwica & Samantha Rabin, Janessa Olsen, Kelly Peters, Caroline Smith, Jullie Whitehill, Karin Wilkinson, Lily Morris, Maya Harcourt and Erin Brown, Marta Azzollina, Lucia Dillion, and Eliza Greene, Maggie Sariento, Liz Kent, Andria LaRocco, Ilana Webber, Emma Lee Iverson, Bess Child, and the festival’s children’s and teens’ choreography workshops, Stiltshop and Advancedshop.

For details, call Abby at 508-717-2887 or see builtonstilts.org.