John Alley was first in line, wearing a bolo tie made from a fossil. The West Tisbury native had arrived nearly an hour early last Thursday for the Taste of the Vineyard stroll in Edgartown. A red carpet was laid out on the sidewalk stretching to the tents. Funi Burdick, executive director of the Vineyard Trust, hovered nearby in a black gown and pink tassel earrings.

The Vineyard Sound a cappella group warmed up the crowd on cool evening as delicious smells wafted out of the large white tents set up outside the Daniel Fisher House. The crowd was colorfully dressed. One man wore a suit covered in flamingos. Another wore a wooden bow tie, and another wore an American flag jacket.

Perhaps the event should be called: Much More Than a Taste. — Ray Ewing

“This used to be so Edgartown, just blue blazers and blue ties,” one person said.

Inside the tents, 40 food and beverage vendors laid out everything from lobster sliders and strawberry macaroons to double IPAs and cotton candy cocktails.

Seen as the official kickoff to the Vineyard summer social season, the Taste, as it has become known, is also a significant fundraiser for the trust, which owns 21 historic landmark buildings across the Island, including the Flying Horses Carousel and Alley’s General Store. The newest acquisition is The Carnegie, a showcase museum in the old Carnegie library that officially opens on June 23. Ms. Burdick said the 1,200 tickets sold for The Taste play a huge part in keeping Island history alive through projects such like The Carnegie.

“Hopefully people realize the importance that preservation brings to Island life,” she said as the crowd began shuffling down the red carpet.

Inside, the Sultans of Swing provided the evening soundtrack with tunes from Motown to soul to pop.

A beautiful night to celebrate the coming summer. — Ray Ewing

“That guy is in the Grateful Dread, a reggae cover band of the Grateful Dead,” said Chelsea Bruzga, referring to the band’s bassist. She was there with her friend Jayme Foster.

Behind the tents, workers dashed about in white and blue gloves trying to keep up with the flurry of hands grabbing bite-sized foods.

Steve Buckley of Buckley’s Gourmet Food had already made 800 of the night’s special: pulled pork with root beer sauce topped with fresh watermelon. He kept it casual in a Bruins cap and short-sleeved shirt. His wife and co-owner, Jessica, danced next to him.

“Once we slow down I’ll go get a beer and join the party,” he said while passing Jessica another handful of pork.

After a couple of hours of feasting, people flocked to the dance floor. Island artist Kara Taylor said the crowd looked young, noting the absence of white jeans. Glen Gaskill from Our Market said it looked like an adult prom. A man impersonating Tony Clifton, an alter ego of the late Andy Kaufman dressed as a tacky lounge singer, pointed to the band and said it should have been him performing.

Later as the party began to wind down, vendors began to pack up and munch on leftovers. Those with early morning obligations trickled out, souvenir Vineyard Vines beer koozies and wine glasses in hand. Mr. Alley was still around, sitting and observing the spectacle. He wasn’t planning to move anytime soon.

“I’m stuffed, and I’m deaf,” he said.

More pictures from the Taste.