From the May 30, 1980 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

The overture to the 1980 summer season was a breathtaking show of sunny weather, tourist crowds, some solemn moments, and much enjoyment.

Memorial Day weekend belayed any lurking fears that the summer season would be stifled by high gas prices or the dust clouds from a distant volcanic eruption. The people came, the sky was blue, and as one visitor said after hitching a ride next to Ocean Park: “It looks just like a postcard.”

Monday morning’s parade in Tisbury led the Island’s ceremonies in honor of those who have died in war. About 40 members of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars gathered before nine Monday morning in the town parking lot in Vineyard Haven. They were augmented in the line of march by Cub Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts, orange jump-suit clad Emergency Medical Technicians, and the Tisbury police department in crisp, white-shirted, summer uniforms.

Shortly after nine, a state police car moved out toward War Memorial Park along Lagoon Pond Road, and with Tisbury selectmen Judith Jardin, John Schilling and James Lobdell walking abreast at the head of the line, the parade marched to the drum beat supplied by three boys pressed into service just a half hour before.

After Mrs. Jardin’s dedication of a new plaque and boulder honoring Tisbury men who died in foreign wars since World War Two, Lisa Maciel and Kelly Daniel helped Arthur Dickson, one of the parade’s marshals, decorate the memorials.

Rodman Backus, commander of the Gen. George W. Goethals Post of the American Legion, ordered the parade along its route to the Oak Grove Cemetery.

There, parade marshal James Dolby read a selection praising the heroism of all those who died fighting for their country, the Rev. Leon Oliver led the assembled crowd in prayer, and the Coast Guard color guard fired shots into the air — the military salute for the fallen.

Throughout the day, flags flew at half mast in honor of the Americans held hostage in Iran, and Mr. Dolby led a silent prayer for the captives.

The flawless weekend gave a big boost to the start of the busy tourist season.

“Business was terrific,” said Jon Ahlbum, owner of the Depot Corner Service Station and president of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce.

“There were a lot of people, it was almost like the Fourth of July. I can’t remember better weather for a Memorial Day.”

Mr. Ahlbum’s own businesses — gas, car rentals and taxi service — were all very busy, he added.

Jack Dario, owner of Tisbury Texaco, a service station and moped rental concern located 100 yards from the busy Five Corners in Vineyard Haven, said there seemed to be more visitors renting mopeds and bikes than in years past.

Chief Raymond Maciel of the Tisbury police said he had three men “flat out from 11:30 a.m. until late at night Monday” directing traffic around the Steamship Authority.

Traffic on the bike paths along the Oak Bluffs-Edgartown Beach Road was heavy all weekend as tourists left their cars behind and traveled around the Island on more fuel efficient vehicles.

Restaurants and retail businesses reported busy weekends. Many of the Island’s summer hotels and restaurants opened their seasons this weekend to large crowds. In all the down-Island towns, streets were lined with shoppers and strollers. Circuit avenue was busy from morning until night as the Island movie theatre opened to greet the summer, along with many of the street’s seasonal restaurants.

The Steamship Authority did not have final figures on the weekend travel, but the boatline ran many extra trips to serve the demand for guaranteed standby passage, and Diane Spears of the customer services office said the weekend traffic seemed heavier than in previous years.

In Tisbury, town residents took advantage of Sunday’s warm sunshine to enjoy picnic lunches on the hill overlooking Lake Tashmoo and in the glade around the town waterworks. Children rowed a small dinghy around the pond near the brick waterworks building while their parents sat on blankets in the grass, chatting, and watching a small wooden model sloop tack across the pond. Flute music played by Josephine DeSorcy drifted through the air, and later the Flying Elbows, an Island bluegrass group, delighted the audience in the natural amphitheatre near the Tashmoo overlook.

Along the roads in other towns, cars parked where there were weekend parties and cookouts. Tennis courts filled with weekend lobbers, struggling to get their form back in time for summer play. In the warm evenings, the streets of Edgartown came alive as strollers ducked in and out of the movies, or the stores and restaurants that stayed open to accommodate the crowds.

And when it was all over Monday, Islanders took a quick breath before the floodgates of late June and July open, and savored a quiet mid-week day on a warm beach.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox