Lanterns of all shapes and sizes adorn Camp Ground's gingerbread cottages. Mark Lovewell

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Grand Illumination Night has been a summer staple on Martha's Vineyard since 1869, when the first event was held in honor of the visiting governor of Massachusetts. After sundown on the third Wednesday in August, lanterns of all kinds cast a magical glow over the charming gingerbread cottages at the Martha's Vineyard Camp Ground.

The 151th Grand Illumination takes place Wednesday, August 19, 2020. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Tabernacle with an introduction and the Vineyard Haven Band. Piano duets and a community sing follow, featuring favorites including the Star Spangled Banner and In the Gold Old Summer Time.

At 8:30 p.m. house lights will go out and the first lantern will be lit by the honorary lamp lighter. At 8:45 p.m. the band concert begins as the crowd is invited to stroll through the enchanted scene.

Between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. church chimes announce the end of festivities.

The Grand Illumination is a free-will offering event, with guests encouraged to donate what they can. The camp meeting association is a nonprofit organization. For more information visit



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