For the sixth year in a row, the sun shone on the festivities of Polly Hill Arboretum’s summer solstice celebration, held Saturday afternoon on the arboretum grounds in West Tisbury.

“We like to think it’s a little bit of Polly’s magic,” said education and outreach adminstrator Karin Stanley. The arboretum was founded in 1958 by horticulturalist Polly Hill, who intended to create a space for preservation and cultivation of threatened plants as well as increase the range of plants that could grow in the Island climate. Adding an extra dash of magic, one of these introduced plants, the signature Julian Hill magnolia, was in bloom during the festival. The southern magnolia (named for Polly’s husband) was planted in 1961 and produces white blossoms that often reach 18 inches in diameter.

More than 450 guests roamed the 70-acre landscape during the festival, which featured a nature crafts area for children, guided tours of the arboretum, a scavenger hunt and a plant sale (Rebekah Nivala of Vineyard Haven, winner of a raffle for a large Stewartia tree, was lucky enough to take home a free plant). Throughout the day there were musical performances by the Flying Elbows and the Vineyard Sound a cappella group, storytelling, and refreshments for all, much to the delight of visitors.

Lucy Altman-Coe, Hannah Hagen and Wyndham Welles. — Ivy Ashe

“I allow myself to eat a hot dog twice a year, and one of them is here,” said Joan LeLacheur of Aquinnah, who took part in the celebration as a member of the Spindrift Marionette Troupe. The troupe’s giant puppets were the focus of a well-received processional through the park, which featured papier-mache incarnations of Mother Earth and Father Sky. This year a new Sea Goddess puppet joined the duo, her train of translucent blue silk held up by Tisbury School students Justine Cassel and Sam Graber-Hahn.

“It’s our favorite event of the year,” said Vineyard Haven resident Tricia Sirakovski, whose children Esmé and Felix Colon were two of the many scavenger hunt participants. Sticker books, beaded bracelets and other prizes awaited those who journeyed through the park to complete the hunt, locating trees and shrubs on a map as they went.

Volunteer coordinator Nancy Weaver noted that although the solstice celebration is “our big day,” visitors are encouraged to stop by the arboretum throughout the year. The grounds, located off State Road, are open from sunrise to sunset.