Skunks outnumbered pedestrians in the Oak Bluffs Campground Wednesday evening on what would have been Illumination night.

The annual August festival was canceled in May and the walkways and porches were mostly dark as night descended on the evening that usually sees thousands of families converge on the Tabernacle and surrounding area, as they have done since 1869.

Bannon family observe the night on the porch. — Mark Alan Lovewell

But amid the darkness a few lanterns stood out, glowing on porches.

Maureen Jordan’s family owns a cottage near the Tabernacle. Each year her family divides up the summer so everyone has a chance to be on-Island for the big August events. This year her grandchildren were hoping to experience their first Illumination night.

“It would have been nice for them to see it,” Ms. Jordan said.

A short distance from the Jordan’s cottage, Annabelle Tait was getting ready to visit a friend. Ms. Tait has been summering in the Campground for 40 years. When she’s not on the Vineyard she lives in Belmont with her husband. On Illumination night she and her husband traditionally light 10 candle lanterns and enjoy the evening with their children and grandchildren.

Ms. Tait said she has noticed more empty cottages this summer.

All is quiet on the Caldwell porch. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Further along, the walkway to the front step of the Bannon’s porch had been decorated with sidewalk chalk by Amy and Peter Bannon’s children. Above the walkway a giant lantern glowed from its perch in a tree. Mr. Bannon said over the years he has been asked if the markings on the lantern are symbols.

“They’re actually mostly our kid’s scribbles,” he said with a smile.

Otherwise, most of the lights in the Campground came from the glow of televisions or reading lamps. Some cottagers dined on their porches while others hosted neighbors for a nightcap as another quiet summer evening came to an end.