After a four-year hiatus, the Feast of the Holy Ghost brought Vineyarders together again to witness the return of a century-old tradition. With food, a parade and a very important crown, the Holy Ghost Society honored Queen Isabella of Aragon and the Island’s Portuguese maritime heritage this weekend.

Florence BenDavid, 86, said she loved the event because it celebrated where she was from.

“It reminds me of all of my grandparents and my people of Portugal,” she said. “And a lady gave me a little Portuguese flag. I’m so excited.”

Ella Ray, Carly Alwardt and Gina deBettencourt at the PA Club. — Ray Ewing

Despite the same gloomy weather that has loomed over many outdoor events this summer, Sunday’s procession through Oak Bluffs brought bright colors, energy and music from the police station all the way to the Portuguese American Club.

A Portuguese flag flew from the Oak Bluffs town sign at the north end of Circuit avenue, and fire trucks from the Island’s towns followed the Holy Ghost Society leadership and the young girls carrying the crown of Queen Isabella.

Gina deBettencourt, president of the society, said she was glad the event had returned after the pandemic hiatus.

“I want to thank everyone for helping us get this back on this year after four years — especially our little crown princesses.

Dancing in the streets. — Ray Ewing

Along the route, the procession stopped at Sacred Heart Cemetery for a solemn wreath laying and a playing of Taps.

The wreath laying was the best part, said Ella Ray, one of the girls carrying the crown. Carly Alwardt also helped lead the parade.

After the parade concluded, there was free sopa for everyone at the PA Club to honor Queen Isabella’s generosity, including quart containes for take-away. 

Marisa Estrella, who ran the games at the event, said she has been part of the event since she was three years old.

“It’s about coming together, giving back and running into all of your family once a year,” she said.

More pictures.