Our weather was delightful and summer-like last weekend. It is getting busier each day as more people continue to arrive for their vacation. Starting on Wednesday the crunch will be upon us as some folks will get a head start on the long holiday weekend as Independence Day is next Friday. The up-Island bus traffic has increased in substantial numbers in just a week.

Kristian Seney, who is the head honcho of Tisbury Tech, installed a new computer for me as my old one crashed and burned. Now, I am quite certain I will never get used to it no matter what he says, so today’s column, if I can figure out how to send it, may have a few glitches and mistakes.

Marian Irving reports that the 26th annual church Strawberry Festival was a huge success, with over 900 Island folks and visitors indulging in all forms of strawberry delights on Saturday. The energetic volunteers raised $6,000, which will help to fund both church and community programs and they are grateful for such strong Island support. Planning is now underway for their next event, the 2nd annual Blueberry Festival on Saturday, July 19, so mark your calendars.

Leon and Jean Sample of Alexandria, Va., arrived recently to spend the summer on Cobb’s Hill. Leon’s brother from California, Curt Cram, spent the first week here with them, helping open up the carriage house. They returned to Virginia briefly for their daughter Heather’s graduation from George Mason University with a masters in public policy. Upon returning to the Vineyard, they have enjoyed the company of Stuart and Aubrey Layton and daughter Charlotte, Trisha Dermarderosian and daughter Ruby, and Jenny Hiers Briggs, all from the Boston area. Aubrey Hiers Layton returned last weekend with eight delightful best friends from Cambridge: Bonnie Donegan, Gwendolyn Reynolds, Lisa Von Orman Hadley, Leslie Nielsen, Amelia Sorensen, Courtney Toiaivao, Marci Evans and Laci Gentry. The group spent days in the sun at the beach, checked out the Farmers’ Market and relished strawberries in all forms at the First Congregational Church’s festival. The Samples from Leesburg, Va., will arrive this week: David, Nadine, Sarah, Scott and Sean. They anticipate much fun with lots of outside activities, sailing and motoring to South Beach, card games and ice cream.

John Siffert and his wife have arrived to spend some time at their house, God’s Pocket, on Edgartown Road.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m. author Lynne Christoffers will be reading from her book Cats on Martha’s Vineyard at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven. She invites you to come share stories about your feline pet. Catherine Finch wrote a story about CATS in a new issue of Vineyard Style magazine.

Nelia Decker over at the library reports that their annual Summer Reading Kick-off at the Agricultural Hall is on July 5. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. The fabulous and funny Bill Ross is the featured performer. The price is $4, which includes face painting. Babes-in-arms are free! Get a jump on summer reading, come to the program and then visit the library and sign up for summer reading.

On Tuesday at Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs, the folks at Renaissance House will sponsor the reading of the speech by Frederick Douglass, “What Does The Fourth of July Mean To A Negro?” On Wednesday at noon at the Federated Church, the Friends of the Edgartown Library present a community reading of Mr. Douglass's speech. He spoke at the Federated Church in November of 1857, and the church has offered its sanctuary as the venue for this free event. Sixteen readers from all walks of Vineyard life will be doing the reading.

On July 2, 1954, a large group of people gathered for the dedication ceremony of the newly constructed Congregational Church parish house. The Rev. William Thompson, former minister, wished the church and the new parish house well and set three goals he hoped for the building: friendliness, individuality and growth. The current pastor, Rev. Neil Howard, led the congregation in prayer and the choir sang Bless This House. Rev. Howard gave a fine tribute to the late Frank B. Wight for all he had done for the church, and expressed sorrow that he did not live to witness the dedication ceremony of the parish house that he had worked so hard to make a reality. The building is constructed to match the church. It has a meeting room, pastor’s study, kitchen and rest rooms. The interior furnishings were made possible by donations from the Grange and the Church Improvement Society.

Happy birthday to Woody Bowman, David Steere, Jonathan Belain and Ginger Norton today; Alvida Jones, Samantha Look, Collen O’Donnell, James Cleary and Sam Decker tomorrow; Tony Silva, Lynn Weber, Harriet Bernstein, Myles Thurlow and Ruby Hoy on Sunday; Clifton Athearn, Scott Yapp, Ken Mastromonaco, Rebecca Conroy and Jack Gray on Monday; Max Bradshaw, John Miller, Michael Jolley and Philip Engles on Tuesday; Cherrilla Brown, Diane Abbot, Alison Clark, Shirley Cartier, Elliott Tholen, Brian Jolley, Marianne Tsikitas, Sioux Eagle, Marsha Winsryg and Debbie Farber on Wednesday; Allison McKinley, Andrew Dickerman, Tina Sisson, Marissa Kaeka, Marsha Winsryg and Michelle Marks on Thursday.

A happy anniversary to Chris Hind and Shannon Brown on Monday, and old friends Ed and Jane Konicki on Tuesday. Belated birthday wishes to Sandy Hicks, Kelley DeBettencourt and Helen Martin.

Well, that is all of the social news for this edition. Please call or email me (alleys@vineyard.net) with your guests and news. Have a great week.