Hot dogs sizzled, children laughed, and a mandolin played as rowboats floated in a calm pond and a small pony ambled down a wooded trail.

"There could be sharks!" Landon Medeiros of Vineyard Haven said as he waited his turn to row around the pond of Waterworks Park in Tisbury. And then, as his friends laughed, he added, "There's not sharks. I'm kidding."

It's all part of the annual Tisbury town picnic, a tradition so longstanding even the sun graced the park with its presence.

"We were lucky, very lucky," Tisbury selectmen Jonathan Snyder said of the weather as he served up hot dogs and burgers at the grill with Jim Pringle. Over 200 hot dogs had been doled out just an hour after the picnic began, with still more people bringing their own food to grill up. Lenny Clarke and Marilyn Wortman sliced watermelons behind Mr. Snyder and Mr. Pringle.

The Flying Elbows performed their trademark folk music from beneath a shady tree, and just past 1 p.m. the fiddles quieted for a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, as Ralph Packer and a trio of youngsters raised Old Glory by the pond.

The picnic has been going on for more than twenty years, Mr. Packer said afterwards, and he hasn't missed a single one. The best part, he said, is "meeting [up] with all the people you see once a year."

Though hosted in Tisbury, families come from across the Vineyard--and the state, and beyond--to enjoy the day. The Neale family of Acton, on Island to visit family, tried their hand at rowing, while sisters Adriana and Talia Young of Edgartown doodled with chalk in front of the newly renovated Tashmoo Spring Building and greeted a trio of friendly alpacas.

"We come every year," the girls' father Colin said.

Their mother Trena summed up the feelings of those in attendance: "It's amazing."


For more photos, see our gallery Sun Comes Out for Tisbury Town Picnic