Don’t forget about Vineyard Haven. The town, hit by the one-two punch of the July 4, 2008 fire that destroyed Café Moxie and severely damaged the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, and the recession, has struggled to match the crowded, bustling streets of Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

Tonight, July 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. local business leaders hope to turn things around with an event billed as an art stroll but that in fact includes a variety of businesses along Main street.

“We’re gonna kick it off with this and see how it does,” said Peter Simon, who owns the Simon Gallery with his wife, Ronni. “More casually, everyone is encouraged to do this every Friday night.”

Mr. Simon, like many other business owners, noted that Vineyard Haven doesn’t have the nightlife of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, or any nightlife at all, really, because it doesn’t have bars. Last summer, beer and wine licenses were approved for the town and it’s hoped this will be of some help.

Dawn Braasch, the owner of the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and president of the Tisbury Business Association, agreed. “I want people to see what each business does,” she said of her plans for this Friday and beyond. “I think the problem in Vineyard Haven is not during the day, getting foot traffic, the problem is in the evening.”

Ms. Braasch is eager to get visitors to come downtown and wants the Tisbury Business Association to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. “I think we all see a need to make the Business Association something that works for its members, not just verbally to say we support business, but to really get out there and be the voice of business.”

“It’s not just arts as in artwork, but certainly literary arts, jewelry making, pottery,” Ms. Braasch continued. Author Linda Fairstein will be signing her books outside the Bunch of Grapes before her planned talk that evening.

Ms. Braasch hopes the Friday night extended opening hours will boost the town’s profile, saying, “The more people can expect these kinds of things of our town, the more we will become a destination.”

More feet on the street can often translate into more sales, but it isn’t always that easy. “It’s tough to tell people, ‘Well, try staying open now and see if you aren’t seeing a difference’ when they’ve lost money staying open,” Ms. Braasch said, pointing out that having to pay staff for the extra hours can make the idea untenable.

Kara Taylor, an artist and owner of the Kara Taylor Art Gallery on Main street, is one of those business owners reticent to staying open late.

“Personally, I don’t want to stay open at night. I don’t feel like I get much business,” she said, though she acknowledged that retail businesses would likely benefit hugely from increased foot traffic in the evenings. “I just can’t afford to have more help than I have already,” she continued. Despite her wariness at staying open late on a regular basis, Ms. Taylor will stay open this Friday night. Her current show is entitled Reveries.

Nancy Shaw Cramer, who owns the Shaw Cramer Gallery, took the opposite side, noting that she would be willing to stay open even if it didn’t mean much of a sales increase for her. Her Friday night events already keep her busy, anyway. “I think it’s good for us to stay open a little later, as long as we get the appreciation,” she said.

The art stroll also excites her because it won’t just be showcasing visual arts. “We have it all in this town,” she said and hoped visitors would get a sense of that. “We’re also known as a town that’s just sort of quietly gracious.”