Come dusk tonight, the Victorian gingerbread houses at the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs will be a magical fantasy land, aglow with light from lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
It is time once again for the Grand Illumination.
The magic officially begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. There will be a community sing and a band concert at the Tabernacle. When dusk arrives, the first lantern will be lit. Per tradition, the honor goes to the oldest member of the Camp Ground. The person’s identity will be kept secret until the final moment.
The Grand Illumination, traditionally held the third Wednesday of August, dates back to 1868. Back then, paper lanterns from Japan and China were inexpensive ornaments. Now some lanterns are old while others are new and homemade.
The event is now a cherished and well-attended tradition. Many streets are closed to parking during the event and parking downtown will be difficult. The Vineyard Transit Authority will be running additional service on route 13, which goes from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown with stops in Oak Bluffs. Bus service will run about every 15 minutes until 10:30 or 11 p.m.