Last week’s jubilant concert and parade by the Extraordinary Rendition Band certainly reinforced Best Fest’s title as, well, the Best Fest. Some, seeing the joyfully unrestrained band in action for the first time, were delighted to see Oak Bluffs’ downtown area so alive so soon after the season’s traditional Labor Day ending. The finale at the Strand was every bit as magical, harkening back to postcards of old, when marching bands were depicted on Oak Bluffs avenue near the Dreamland Casino and the Flying Horses at the center of town at Farland Square.

History buffs might compare our new tradition of Best Fest to Erasmus Carpenter’s first Illumination Night on August 14, 1869 when he brought the Foxboro Brass Band to town for the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company. I think filling the streets with music is a great idea any time, and when it’s good, the louder the better.

Stopping at the Flying Horses for a few minutes on Saturday for a taste of music of a different sort, I ran into Eve Gates, who was watching her and Jimmy Parr’s son Alex taking a ride on the horses before his fourth birthday on Sunday. She called it a perfectly innocent way to have fun, and I agreed. What could be more calm and wonderful than a carousel of kids with waltzes playing in the background?

I was pleased to have met Dan Hastings this summer. His family — Dad (Lester J.) and Mom (Catherine Hastings) and sons (David and Daniel) owned the Flying Horses from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. For a while, that made Lester my boss when I was one of the ring boys.

I spoke to Dan, retired director of bands for the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, earlier this week and we agreed to touch base another day for a story about his family’s stewardship of one of Oak Bluffs' treasures. Dan has an assortment of memorabilia I’d like to learn more about — for example, the original organ with some of the music rolls. One of those rolls — yes the organ still works — is the Skater’s Waltz, a favorite of mine along with Sobre las Olas (or Over the Waves) by Juventino Rosas. Music is a part of the magic at the Flying Horses, open now on weekends and closing for the year Columbus Day weekend. So you still have time for a ride.

The PBS NewsHour (Comcast channels 2 and 702) has launched a yearlong series focused on diversity called Race Matters led by Sunset Lake Park resident Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Debuting two weeks ago, it is expected to air at least twice monthly for the foreseeable future.

Tivoli Day, now a 38-year tradition, returns Saturday. See you there, noon to 5 p.m.

This weekend, the Island is honored by a visit from the National Trust Council of The National Trust for Historic Preservation. The organization consists of leaders who share a deep personal interest in the preservation of America’s heritage. They plan to visit the Flying Horses and Union Chapel and I’m sure they’re going to love Oak Bluffs.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is displaying some restored whaling logs at the Harbor View Hotel at 5:30 p.m. The exhibit is entitled “Making the Past Reappear – Conservation of 19th Century Whaling Logbooks.”

The Oak Bluffs Library has a new children’s librarian and encourages you to stop by to meet Sonja, who started on Sept. 5. Welcome Sonja! On Saturday from 10 a.m to noon at the library, folks are playing Scrabble and chess.

Last weekend’s activities at the Strand, similar to when jazz and R&B songstress Vivian Male appeared there on August 13, was another creative use of the much missed-venue now operated by the Martha’s Vineyard Theatre Foundation. But more work is needed. The roof needs repairs and there are plans to install a handicap lift. The foundation is trying to raise $45,000 and I hope you might consider a donation. Contributions are being gratefully accepted at

Dr. John Rizzo, the new principal of the Oak Bluffs School, is charming children and parents alike with positive birthday letters of encouragement. That’s incredibly thoughtful.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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