The lack of spring rain may be causing Oak Bluffs oak tree leaves to brown early — portending an end to a colorful and busy season. I say season, not summer, because that, like beauty, is difficult to define. Some say summer ends Labor Day, 10 days hence, some may say Tivoli Day in 21 days, and others say Columbus Day in another 44. The truth is that summer ends on your last day on the Vineyard if you’re seasonal —or upon your last outdoor shower if you stay year-round. We all agree the start was Memorial Day weekend and it can be said that July people come for the Vineyard and August people for the additional diversions of events. This year the July people got the weather, including preternaturally warm water, and the August folks certainly got events. And of course there’s still time for a little excitement if the Island gets another “faux-icane” or hurricane that doesn’t quite live up to its billing.

East Chop’s Phillip Allston and I were reminiscing about “the day they caught the giant sting ray” at the Inkwell back in 1956, in quotes since few friends believed it — until recently when Phil shared pictures he saved of the eight-foot monster no one knew was swimming with us. The event prompted several summers’ worth of our spear- fishing sea robins, blowfish, rock bass and the occasional eel and striped bass schoolie with Hawaiian slings we made from tridents from Leonardo’s Dive Shop (Vineyard Scuba operated today by son Joe Leonardo) with mop handles and inner tubes. Even better though, Phil shared family pictures from the Vineyard that go back to the early 1900’s. According to Bob Hayden’s book, African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Phillip’s grandfather — Phillip J. Allston (1860-1915) was a chemist at the Potter Drug and Chemical Company, where his work improved Cuticura Soap and Ointment, which are still manufactured today. He began coming to Oak Bluffs in 1902, and his family is now in its fourth generation of (so far) a 110-year tradition that Phil, his wife Myrna and their family continue to enjoy.

The Second Annual MV Comedy Fest began last night at the Lamp Post, continues tonight and tomorrow and returns August 30 to Sept. 1.

Today, from 4 to 6 p.m., there is a reception for Kurt Schmoke, the first black mayor of Baltimore and Dean of Howard University’s Law School, coordinated by big-league D.C. attorneys and impresarios Sherri Blount, Sheila Harley, Cassandra Matthews, Singleton McAllister and Blaine White. E-mail for details.

Bettie Eubanks and Harry Seymour are hosting an artist open house at 106 County Road today and tomorrow from 4 to 6 p.m.

Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston, presents Angela Davis and Gina Dent this evening at Union Chapel at 5:30 for the program, Reports from Palestine. Tickets are at C’est La Vie and proceeds support the mission promoting full equality, democracy and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians.

The 24th Annual Louis Sullivan 5K Run-Walk starts at 8:45 am tomorrow at Washington Park at the intersection of New York and East Chop avenues. The event was created by Dr. Sullivan, who was U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1989 to 1993, and raises funds for the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney — who shares Island views on Cape Wind — visited the Oak Bluffs home of Farm Neck’s Kate and James Sims for a fundraiser Saturday and was, unsurprisingly, scheduled for a trip to Nantucket the same day. The Simses also played host to Governor Romney in 2007. The August 2009 issue of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine indicated that nine U.S. candidates and presidents have frequented our usually tranquil Island. Four (Chester Arthur, Ulysses Grant, Calvin Coolidge and Richard Nixon) were Republicans, John Adams was a Federalist and the other four (Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) Democrats. President Nixon was the most recent Republican visitor and five have visited Oak Bluffs.

The only happier sight than the tug boat pushing the fireworks barge into place are the fireworks themselves — last Friday’s 34-minute spectacular was no exception. Mike Benjamin’s Band played favorites at the Biggers Cottage (courtesy of Kelsey, tastemaker Sissy, Sarah and Lucy), and his daughter Charlotte’s singing was a special treat. Thanks again to Black Entertainment Television for their fireworks sponsorship.

B.E.T.s Centric Network (channel 195 on Comcast cable) hosted quite the gala fete at Hooked last Thursday, well attended by nattily-attired visitors, media moguls and local and national celebrities. With quite a few celebrity guests this summer, it’s nice that in Oak Bluffs, important celebrities feel it’s important to be nice.

At last Wednesday’s Barack Obama fundraiser at Ron and Judy Davenport’s Temahigan home, several cast members from HBO’s The Wire — Jamie Hector (Marlo Stanfield), Sonja John (Kima Greggs), Clarke Peters (Lester Freamon), Wendell Pierce (Bunk Moreland) and Andre Royo (Bubbles Cousins) — were passionate and refreshingly committed in articulating their support of President Obama. They unabashedly commented on using their celebrity in support of what they believe to be a good cause.

Dawn Combra says the ice cream business is good at the Sweet Spot on the dock, July was better than August and on par with last summer.

My Pequot avenue playmate since childhood, Ed Rhodes Jr. and his wife, Joanne H. Edey-Rhodes of Oak Bluffs and Laureleton, N.Y., are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Asha Thulani Rhodes, to Sean David Meade; a May 2013 wedding is planned.

If your summer’s over there are two things you can take home with you: (“The soundtrack of the Vineyard,” as Sissy Biggers says) and the Vineyard Gazette (with my Oak Bluffs column!) online for $29.99 at

The plaque on the rock that misspelled ‘Bluffs’ in Waban Park has been removed — hopefully to be corrected. ’Tabut,’ as the original people would have said, we thank you.

It is time the band at the fireworks had amplification so everyone can hear it.

Keep your foot on a rock.