The dessert table at the Barn Raisers Ball might well be the premier non-savory potluck venue of the Martha’s Vineyard off-season.

On Saturday, the loving care that each individual puts into their cookies, cakes or pies was apparent in the sugary smorgasbord at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Hall, its doors open and hearth warm for a buffet and dance whose whole may well exceed the sum of its parts.

And so, the pressure was on when I delivered an apple crisp to the buffet table and joined the great flannel crowd in crafting my own confection to appropriately honor the day 28 years ago when hundreds of Vineyarders gathered together on the fairgrounds to raise the cherished barn.

Luckily, nervous bakers like myself had an ally to assist with the drop-off. Kristy Rose, an often unsung hero of these Islandwide events and a valued presence at the hall and the Derby weigh-station, adroitly found potholders for still-hot baked goods, expertly directing the crowd to locate free space among the pumpkin pies and brownies. Her dessert had been devoured much earlier.

On then, to the main hall for some musical distraction, lest thoughts be burdened with confectionery anxiety for the rest of the night. It was a warm scene; the yellow string lights hit the wood of the barn and the whole hall glowed like amber. Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish were playing, just as they had every year since the barn was first raised in 1994, and harmonica solos were in abundance.

The Ball touched every swath of Vineyard society and was well attended by all age groups. Kate Lizotte described the crowd as “all the people you actually want to see.” Everyone’s best autumnal fleeces and geometric sweaters were on display. The five green jumpsuits scattered across the hall signaled a new fashion trend.

The weather was unseasonably pleasant, meaning that those looking to retreat from the hall’s hop-stepping and rockabilly tunes could emerge from the barn to chat around one of two crackling fires. Outside was Casey Mazar-Kelley, the longtime wholesale manager at Morning Glory Farm, dressed to the nines in a fringed, white leather jacket. She said she would be joining talented florist Delilah Bennett at Fire Cat Farm next season. Watch out for more stunning bouquets and veggies in the near future.

Gathered among them was also Sky Taylor, a Buddhist monk from Vermont visiting with the Mobile Monastery Chautauqua Tour. He was a lean man with a shaven head. His group, he said, visited Native Earth Teaching Farm for a circling meditation session. “We were focusing on embodiment and helping people relate more intimately,” he said. Mr. Taylor plans to go on retreat upon his return to the Vermont hills.

Indeed, the end of the ball signaled its own form of retreat for Islanders, when the cold of winter descends and the warmth of the fireplace beckons. After the music ended, dancers lingered on the floor of the hall, not quite ready to let go of the night’s last gasps.

By then, the dessert table was empty and nary a crumb was left. Even the humble apple crisp had been devoured. As they shuffled out of the barn, the successful home bakers stopped to retrieve their trays and pans, now well seasoned for the busy months of potlucks ahead.