Rev. Cathlin Baker of the Congregational Church rang the church bell 50 times Wednesday, joining the rest of the country in marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Today is the start of the long holiday weekend. Labor Day is on Monday and it marks the end of the summer season. All municipal buildings and the post office will be closed. The VTA buses begin their fall schedule on Monday and the SSA schedule changes on Wednesday. The only change I can see is that there will be one less trip to Oak Bluffs. The boat will dock in Vineyard Haven instead. We had some much needed rain on Tuesday but otherwise we have had excellent weather. Sadly all good things must come to an end as school starts on Sept. 9. Many other school systems in the commonwealth opened last week. There were several end of the season parties last weekend and a few more are planned over the holiday weekend. If you have to go downtown you will immediately notice the drop in the volume of traffic and you might even find a parking place.

The Sewards from Toronto arrived last weekend at the Middle Road retreat they have been staying at for the past three years. Lisa and Pat celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary last Saturday. Their daughter Sophia was in Kenya helping to build a school and teaching earlier this summer, but before she left home, she made a batch of strawberry jelly from Ontario’s finest berries. Daughter Olivia will be entering eighth grade next month and spent July at a horse camp in Bethany. They have two house guests: Isabella Logan, whose family grows the potatoes used in Old Dutch potato chips — Canada’s favorite brand, and Michele Reinink who was from Abruzzi, Italy and is now a resident of Toronto. She is a first-time visitor to the Vineyard. They all enjoyed the weather, the beaches, shopping and canoeing. They return to Canada tomorrow.

Sig Van Raan of Music street reports that they are experiencing a quiet respite now that all the kids have moved on. Jackson is back to college in California for his senior year. Sofia is off to find a job in New York and an apartment in Brooklyn. Zoe and Maxine, her new spouse, have left to return home to New Mexico with granddaughters Zaya and Eva. Susan’s daughter, Willie and her husband Mike have returned to Baltimore after a brief visit. The respite will continue into early September when the next round of visitors carries them into October. Meanwhile, Susan and her sisters are busy with plans for a gala family celebration of her mother’s 100th birthday coming up in mid September. Susan went down to New York this week to see her mom who had returned from her month-long vacation in Maine.

David and Rosalee McCullough were at their Music street home for the fair after a busy summer. Geoffrey of Hingham, his wife Signe and their children Geoff Jr., Nellie, Louisa and Henry stayed at his parents’ house recently. Over in Kansas, William McCullough and his wife Cissy, their children Caroline, William, Jr., Melissa and dog Millie are winding up their vacation. Daughter Dorie and her husband Tim and family visited as did son Davy and his wife. A reliable source tells me David is hard at work on a new book.

Lynn Christoffers is pleased to announce the release date for her book Cats of Martha’s Vineyard, 101 Island Tales in mid October, and she now has an advance copy to show. Cats is a beautiful book representing a six-year project photographing cats and their families on the Vineyard. She says that the book couldn’t have been made without the owners sharing their cats and unique stories about them. She is excited to show off her efforts, so if you would like to have a book preview, call 508-696-4920. Or come by MM Stone Antiques & Fine Art, (opposite Middletown Nursery). She will be there most afternoons (Monday - Friday) for the next two weeks with an advance copy to show you.

Jim Coyne of Music street reports that recent house guests were his brothers Charles of Unionville, Pa., and George and Karyn of Abington, Pa. It was their first visit to our shores and they all had a wonderful time.

Bonnie and Fred Waitzkin of Music street and New York city have been here this past month on vacation. Bonnie reports that they are enjoying the beach and the wonderful weather.

Beatrice and Peter Nessen of Boston are at their Old County Road home through Labor Day.

Ava and Naomi Plakins of Doylestown, Pa., and their sister Tamara Thornton of Buffalo, N.Y., will be arriving today to spend a long weekend at their place.

Malcolm and Judy Hall of Oklahoma City and their family have been preparing for daughter Emily’s wedding which will happen tomorrow afternoon. The lucky groom is Whitney Brush who lives in Lambert’s Cove. It is sure to be a festive affair that will long be remembered. Malcolm has issued a list of some folks who will be attending: Dr. Gary Strebel and his wife Sherry owners of the Strebel Creek Winery in Oklahoma City, his brother Dr. Davis Hall and his significant other Karen Mustoe, his nephew author and philanthropist Tom Hall, Dr. Johnny Jones and his wife Andrea, sister in law Ruth Crawford, Mrs. Hall’s brother Scott and his wife Michelle and daughter Adrienne. All of those guests are from Oklahoma. Dr. Reed Hall and his wife Amy from Northern Virginia and cousin Vickey and Josh Harrison and their son Cameron are from College Station, Texas. All of Emily’s brothers and sisters will be attending. Congratulations!

Phyllis Meras of Music street and her friend Sal Laterra hosted a cocktail party Saturday evening for about 50 friends and neighbors. Now Sal had cut the grass, arranged the outside furniture and chatted with nearly everyone who attended. Phyllis thanked Sal and Marjorie Pierce for all their help preparing for her party. When the mosquitoes began to make their presence known at the party, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the guests nor hamper the conversation. Sal returned to Providence on Wednesday.

Marian Irving reports that on Thursday Flatbread will host a benefit evening for the church. A percentage of the evening pizza receipts, along with competitive bids on super silent auction items will boost the fundraising efforts for church and Island ministry. Everyone is welcome to join the party and celebrate the beginning of school with family and friends. The hours are from 3 to 9 p.m. Flatbread is located on Airport Road.

Lynne Ditchfield reports that the yoga teacher training for educators certificate course taught by Martha Abbot and offered last year through ACE MV with the Yoga Barn will be taught again this fall.

Andrea Rogers, manager of the 18th Artisan’s Labor Day Festival, reports that it begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. over at the Agricultural Hall. Many Island artisans will take part in the show with all types of art work on display including furniture, jewelry, photography and much more. You can watch a weaver making a beautiful scarf from wool harvested from her own flock or a young Island artist create his latest masterpiece. There will be a special invitation-only sneak preview of the festival tonight from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Sue Costello reports that football season is right around the corner and they are thrilled to report that the MVRHS cheerleading squad will be back on the sidelines to support the players, the community and fans. Any high school student interested in joining the cheer squad should contact Channon Capra at 508-696-3787 or Sue at 508-627-9568.

Happy birthday to Victoria Anthony, Cheryl Lowe and Anthony Piland today, Pat Mitchell, Chuck Wiley, Michael Smith, Marilyn Wortman, Rebecca Solway and Janet Johnson tomorrow, Ebba Hierta, Karen Russilo and Candace Webster and Dianne Carbone on Sunday, Hilary Blocksom, Ann Bassett, Nielia Decker and Jane Dreeben on Monday, Dick Burt, Bonnie Eldridge, Michelle Spain and Mary Sobel on Tuesday, Bernie Holtzer, Frank Giglio, Kathleen Young and Jonathan Roderick on Wednesday, Ward Just, Laurie Mazer and Gloria Sylva on Thursday. Belated birthday wishes to Leslie J. Stark and Liz Wilson. Happy 7th anniversary greetings to Jay Segel and Celine Gobard on Sunday.

Well that is all of the social news for this week’s column. If you have any news please call or email me. Have a great week.