Every July for the past 45 years, throngs of people descend on the Island’s main port town for the Tisbury Street Fair, a night of food, shopping, music and socializing. Businesses hawk their wares from street side stalls, musicians mingle with the crowd, and people munch on fried dough, lobster rolls and hot dogs. This year Friday, July 8, has been proclaimed Cora Medeiros Day after the fair’s founding mother and longtime selectman who died in May.

The fair begins at 6:30 tonight and runs until 9:30.

Mrs. Medeiros was one of the fair’s founders and constant supporters over the years. It began in 1971 to celebrate the town’s 300th birthday and has continued as a hub of summer action in Tisbury for all these years.

“Cora Medeiros was a strong leader in town,” said selectman Melinda Loberg. “On a more personal level, her history of being the founder of this particular birthday party of the town and an enthusiastic supporter of it, we thought it would be a fitting tribute for her for this to be her day. It’s a small gesture.”

Selectman Tristan Israel agreed. “She was really the guiding light of founding and putting together the street fair,” he said.

After spearheading the event for 15 years, Mrs. Medeiros gave up the reins while continuing to be a force behind the scenes. Her daughter Kathy Rogers has also organized the event and she and her sister Gayla Medeiros still serve as a resource for Robin Sylvia who has run the fair for the past several years.

“[Kathy and Gayla] told me how the rules went and I’ve gone back to them for a couple things here and there to make sure everything is okay,” said Ms. Sylvia.

This year’s fair will include a magician, balloons, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, a capella groups, face painting and more than 65 booths. On Union street there will be a climbing wall for kids.

The fair this year is a benefit for the Tisbury police relief association. Main street will be closed for parking beginning at 4:30 p.m. and closed to traffic by 5 p.m. Free parking and a shuttle will be available at the regional high school.

But for all the food, music and shopping to be done, the Tisbury Street Fair is also one of the town’s biggest social events.

“When I go there, I’m always running into people that especially in a busy summer I might not see for a long time,” said Mr. Israel. “It’s a very jovial event.”

Though the fair is so longstanding now that hardly anyone blinks an eye at shutting down Main street on a Friday night in summer, it wasn’t always that way. In the first several years of operation, Mrs. Medeiros went to bat for the fair nearly every year.

In June of 1978 during discussion among the selectmen over the financing of the street fair, one board member said: “Quite frankly this is not a Cora Medeiros party.” This year, it officially is.