Bright Lights, Cottage City: Plugging In For Illumination Night

Life in the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (informally called the Camp Ground) is a unique experience, and never more so than on Illumination Night. Each August the event draws thousands of visitors, as residents adorn their cottages with lanterns in a tradition dating back to 1868.

Leaving the Lantern On, Lit by Memories

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs, one ball, two strikes. At this point, it could be anyone’s game. Little League bragging rights are on the line.

Tradition Lights the Way at Grand Illumination Night

Brightly colored paper lanterns hanging from gingerbread houses were turned on in unision, and by 8:51 p.m. Wednesday the Camp Ground was aglow.

Lanterns at the Ready, It's Time for Illumination Night

Come dusk tonight, the Victorian gingerbread houses at the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs will be a magical fantasy land, aglow with light from lanterns.

Tradition Lights Up the Camp Ground

On August 20, the Camp Ground will turn into a fantasy land of Victorian gingerbread houses and hundreds of paper lanterns hanging from porches. Welcome once again to the Grand Illumination.

Tradition Celebrated at 145th Grand Illumination Night

At dusk last night a single lantern lit by Gordon Long and his son Roy made its way down the center aisle of the Tabernacle in the Oak Bluffs Camp Ground. There was a collective gasp from the large crowd gathered inside the Tabernacle and around blankets and picnic baskets on the lawn.

News Update:Friday, August 17 - Camp Ground Illuminates the Night with Lanterns

Kennith Kirk tugged the hem of his mother’s dress. Over the screams and laughs of his two twin siblings, Maya and Robert, Kennith’s question was barely audible to all but his mother. “Why are there so many moons?” the three-year-old wanted to know. Maya, seven, whipped her head around and said “They’re lightbulbs!”

Grand Illumination Ignites the Night At Camp Ground

The gingerbread cottages that occupy the Camp Ground surrounding the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs don’t really need adornment. They are already ornately decorated, boasting vibrant paint and colorful coordinating trim. They are picture-book perfect, the handsome and popular subjects of whimsical Island postcards and indeed picture books. But embellished they will be, tomorrow night, to recognize the Vineyard’s annual Grand Illumination night.

Camp Ground Twinkles With History

Wayne Mallory kept an old dish soap bottle full of water handy as he gradually lit a porchful of paper and silk lanterns at his rental cottage just across from the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs Wednesday night. He and his wife, Linda, laughingly referred to the bottle as their fire hose, to be used in case a mishap resulted from using real candlelight to illuminate the lanterns, as opposed to the electric lights that have gained popularity in the past few decades. The lantern collection belongs to Dr. Albert Alexander, and several pieces date back over a hundred years.

Illumination Night Rocks Gently

Illumination Night Rocks Gently

It’s August and some of the heaviest hitters have come aboard. There’s the Agricultural Fair, the Oak Bluffs Fireworks, some guy from Washington, D.C. is rumored to be heading our way, and a host of other big name panels, readings and discussions are all in full bloom.