If beach time and party time are competing at the top of your vacation to-do list, you’re in luck—Martha’s Vineyard events go on almost around the clock in the warmer months. For those who really want to be at the center of the action, though, a few extra-special dates stand out. These four Martha’s Vineyard summer festivals are just the ticket to add some spice to your days in the sand and sun.
Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival
The world’s finest new films make their way to the island toward the tail end of summer, thanks to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society. The group’s state-of-the-art viewing center in Vineyard Haven hosts favorites from festivals like Sundance and Cannes and screens a few premieres of its own, too. Keep an eye out for works shot on the island—the Film Society nurtures local filmmakers with its “Think Globally, Shoot Locally” campaign. If you can’t visit during the festival but you’re just dying to catch something on the big screen while you’re here, the Film Society and other Martha’s Vineyard movie theaters keep plenty of reels rolling all summer long.
MV Book Festival and Author Series
If books are going extinct, we haven’t noticed here on the island. Started in 2009, the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival is a pretty young tradition for us compared to, say, bass fishing, but it’s fitting in just fine. Writers love the beach as much as anybody, so we’re lucky to have readings, Q & A-sessions, and book signings with famous authors you’d normally have to see in a big city. Note this festival’s alternating formats: every other year, it converges as one big event, while in opposite years, individual readings are presented as a weekly series.
Edgartown’s Annual Fourth of July Parade, Barbecue, and Fireworks
This might just be our favorite summer event on Martha’s Vineyard, and that’s only partially because it passes right by us on North Water Street. As a way of saying thanks for spending America’s birthday with us, we reserve our porch and its shaded rocking chairs for registered guests during the parade. Once the flags have gone by, head over to the Dr. Daniel Fisher House lawn, where the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust will be grilling burgers and dogs. Then, after night fall, head down to Memorial Wharf or up to our fourth-floor veranda to watch the fireworks over Edgartown Harbor.
Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair
Known to many as a popular Martha’s Vineyard wedding venue, the Ag Hall in West Tisbury hosts a completely different kind of party just once a year, usually in mid-to-late August. We’re talking old-fashioned, farm fresh fun all across the Agricultural Society grounds. In addition to skillet tossing, a shucking contest, and other classic games and rides you’d expect at a top-notch county fair, we highly recommend visiting the Antique Power Museum. It’s full of early engines, tools, and machines that helped island-dwellers get by a century ago, and it doesn’t keep regular open hours except during special events like the fair.
These four Martha’s Vineyard summer festivals might be the stars of the event schedule, but the running joke at our Edgartown hotel is that June, July, and August are just one continuous holiday. If you’re feeling festive, give us a call, hop on a ferry, and join the party—any time.