Like the famous snowman with a corncob pipe and a button nose, Edgartown will come to life this weekend for the 30th annual Christmas in Edgartown celebration, a weekend of events that would put even the North Pole to shame.

The three-day celebration, featuring the lighting of a Christmas tree and the Edgartown Lighthouse, a parade and chowder-eating festival, open houses and enough sweets to make Santa sick, has also united the community with charity and good cheer. The event is also bigger and better than in previous years, organizers said, with a record $10,000 in sponsorships. 

“Every single place I talked to was so incredibly helpful,” said Susan Trachik, the event organizer and owner of Edgartown Clothing Company. “Nobody said no to anything.” 

Minnesingers choir singers
Minnesingers will perform at Old Whaling Church. — Ivy Ashe

Besides hosting a tasting and participating in the parade, JB Blau, the owner of Sharky’s Cantina, suggested a new “platinum” sponsorship level and became the first such donor, Ms. Trachik said. Cakes by Liz donated time to create a faux cake covered in gingerbread and 200 cupcakes in honor of the event’s 30th anniversary. 

Planning the weekend “really bonded a lot of the businesses in Edgartown together,” Ms. Trachik said. While it’s always been a great event, she added, this year had “so much energy behind it.”

  The weekend also represents a revival in the town, with several businesses that had shut for the season reopening for the event. The state Department of Tourism advertised Christmas in Edgartown on its Web site, Ms. Trachik said, which might draw new visitors, in addition to the people who tradit ionally plan to come to the Island for thecelebration. 

Nick Bradshaw
Nick Bradshaw fastens Christmas cheer. — Ivy Ashe

The weekend is also important for Vineyard residents, said Elizabeth Rothwell, the general manager of the Harbor View Hotel. Lighting the Edgartown Lighthouse is “a really nice way for us to kick off the off-season, and get back in touch with everybody,” she said. Locals come out to reconnect, and “after a busy season, it’s nice to see everybody.”

The outcome shows “what we can do when we all work together,” Ms. Trachik said. From corporate-owned stores to “mom and pop” shops, merchants pitched in with events, promotions, and sponsorships, she said.

Town buildings and lamp posts are already swathed in lights and greenery, with wreaths dotting doors and windows up and down the streets. There’s a tree at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House, and one at the Village Green, which will be lit on Saturday evening. Frosty and a reindeer will hand out candy canes, and the town’s silver lanes aglow will be free of traffic for part of the day Saturday for the Christmas parade. 

For the first time this year, Main street between Summer street and Water street will be closed to traffic during the parade, which starts at 11 a.m., and for two hours afterward, so that celebrants can linger in the festive atmosphere. Forty-one floats are scheduled to participate in the Main street parade, Ms. Trachik said, and $100 prizes will be given for best float and best non-float. 

Festivities at the Harbor View Hotel start with carols, a hand bell concert and goodies Friday evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. Other activities will add to the feeling of a “big party on Water Street,” Ms. Rothwell said. Wendy Harman from Point B Realty decorated a “Teddy Bear Suite” filled with bears and Christmas decor at the hotel. Holiday movies will air Friday night in the Menemsha Room for those who want a quiet respite, and the bar will serve holiday spirits in the form of seasonal cocktails. 

The hotel will host a holiday brunch Sunday morning, and the Kelley House and Newes from America Pub will serve traditional pressed cider and cookies. An artisan festival will take place at the Chappy Room in the Kelley House on Saturday, and the hotel has a “very, very fabulous float going in the parade,” she said. (Like Christmas presents, the float design is a secret.)

“We’re definitely looking really strong this weekend” in terms of bookings, she said. 

Several of the weekend’s events are free, and others benefit Island charities — recipients include the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Martha’s Vineyard, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of MV, the Hospice of MV, the Jim Lambert Memorial Fund and the Red Stocking Fund. 

Beverly Fearey, one of the owners of Past and Presents, agreed that more businesses are getting involved in the weekend, with the 30th anniversary celebration promising to be bigger than previous year, especially if the weather holds up. 

“I think a lot of people are getting quite excited,” she said.

Holiday cheer can follow visitors as they leave, too. While the horse and carriage rides will go between the Mini-Park on Main street and the Harbor View Hotel, Stagecoach Taxi will offer Christmas taxi service, with the cabs bedecked with wreathes and playing Christmas music. 

“Everybody is doing some little something that adds a little bit extra,” Ms. Trachik said.

A complete list of Christmas events is on page Five-A.