Vineyard Celebrates Fourth
By MANDY LOCKE
It's time to pull out the red, white and blue and join with other Islanders for Independence Day festivities.
Edgartown plays host tomorrow to a Fourth of July parade and fireworks display. If you want to join the holiday fun, read along for details about the day.
With festivities beginning in the afternoon, folks have plenty of time to soak up some beach time or grill out in the morning hours.
Of course, Island businesses will be open throughout the day. Ice cream and souvenirs will not be in short supply. Fella Caterers will also set up camp in the yard of the Dr. Daniel Fisher home next to the Old Whaling Church from 3 to 7 Wednesday afternoon. Typical picnic fare with Fella Caterers flare can be purchased at the stand, for the benefit of the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust.
Not far away, volunteers from St. Elizabeth's Church will be selling lobster rolls on the church lawn from noon to 6 p.m.
The crowds are invited to step out of the sun and take a seat in the Old Whaling Church at 2 p.m. to hear the Bay State Band. After the parade, another concert by the Vineyard Haven Band will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the church.
Edgartown selectman and parade grand marshal Fred B. Morgan Jr. will be lining up parade participants well before they begin the march. Uniformed veterans will lead the parade as usual, followed by Island firefighters and police. Antique cars and floats galore will begin parading through downtown Edgartown at 5 p.m. Historic tour companies will direct a group of men, women and children adorned in revolutionary garb. Of course, the crowd's perennial favorite - Camp Jabberwocky - will be there in Independence Day style.
Mr. Morgan estimates that some 20 floats will participate this year. Without a formal reservation system for participants, he said, it's always possible that number could be more.
"There are people who've been coming for years who just show up," Mr. Morgan said.
Leaving from the Edgartown School parking lot promptly at 5 p.m., the veterans will lead the parade down Pease's Point Way, loop toward the Harbor View Hotel, then head down Water street to Main. The parade will head west on Main street for the home stretch and a score from the parade's judges, who will be positioned in front of the Old Whaling Church.
When the veterans turn on Main street, the last of the parade will be stretching down Pease's Point Way.
After the parade and before the fireworks, both the Edgartown Fire Department and the American Legion will host open houses. Refreshments will be served, and, of course, little and big kids alike can admire the fire engines.
As day begins to turn into night, the crowds will flock back to the main streets of Edgartown to secure a good spot to view the fireworks display over the harbor. Most of Water street will be reserved for standing room.
With a strict ban on fireworks on the Island, the only opportunity to see the sky explode with a colorful array of firecrackers is to attend the Edgartown display.
The Edgartown fire department sells commemorative T-shirts all season from a fire truck parked near the harbor to raise funds for this fireworks display.
Fire department representatives work with a private company to launch the fireworks from a barge near the Edgartown lighthouse. Boats in the harbor will enjoy a prime viewing location.
With much of the Island's population flooding into Edgartown for the nighttime display, police advise spectators to carpool, bike and use public transportation to avoid being stuck in lines of traffic. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., Main street, beginning at Veterans Memorial Park, will be shut down to vehicular traffic, as will most of the streets on the north side of town. Parking restrictions in those areas begin at 3 p.m. Look to signs for specific information.
Robinson Road will be closed as well on the day of the parade. Traffic coming from South Beach will be directed down Cleveland Town Road to West Tisbury Road. Incoming traffic from Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven will be forced to turn around at Veterans Memorial Park.
Spectators bringing cars might find space in the Vineyard Transit Authority lot by the Triangle. Trolleys will be running frequently from the lot to downtown until the start of the parade. Spots along the road can be used, but Edgartown police urge parkers to be courteous.
"Use common sense," said Edgartown police Detective Craig Edwards. "Don't block someone's driveway. Don't park on someone's lawn. Be careful with bike paths."
From music to fireworks to munchies - the day promises fun for adults and children alike. Plan ahead to avoid traffic delays and crowds along the streets. And by all means, don't forget the sunscreen.