Happy Birthday America! This blissful Summer holiday is one of the best of the season. If you’re here on Martha’s Vineyard, then you are lucky enough to have the chance to give Norman Rockwell’s classic Americana a run for its money.
This year, the Edgartown Board of Trade has worked with town businesses to create the best holiday line-up I have seen to date. I know that it has provided me with the outline for creating my 4th of July family plans.
There is so much happening. Get ready to eat, dance, drink and be merry before and after the iconic Edgartown 4th of July Parade which begins at 5 p.m. Every year I think that it seems late, but it makes it easier to stay in town for the fireworks which start around 9 p.m.
Kick off the day, the patriotic way, with song! At 10 a.m., join everyone’s favorite, the Vineyard Sound, in front of Rockland Trust (Edgartown National Bank), where they will sing the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and more. This will be fun for all ages.
If music isn’t calling you, perhaps an early trip to the beach to soak up some sun, then head to town for lunch. A favorite tradition continues, St. Elizabeth’s Church Lobster Rolls. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. St. Elizabeth’s will be selling its crowd pleasing lobster rolls. They are $20 a piece and are served with chips and water. Great to grab and go, for the beach, a bench in town, or for a snack.
At 1 p.m. the Harbor View Hotel beings it’s 4th of July celebration. You could literally spend the entire day here if you wanted to, and experience the nation’s birthday in grand style. Starting with its classic BBQ. A special thanks to Elizabeth Cecil for the amazing HVH pics!
The hotel creates an iconic American BBQ on its front lawn. There will be burgers, hot dogs, lobster rolls, a raw bar and more! Here you can picnic, enjoy the view, meander to the Edgartown Lighthouse, whatever you fancy. There will even be activities for the kids and a photo booth by David Welch Photography. This a great family-friendly event.
An added bonus, you have secured a perfect spot to watch the parade later in the afternoon, but be prepared to miss out on the candy-throwing part (which is good for my family), since most floats are out by then.
Then stay for dinner and dancing! One of my favorite bands, the Joanne Cassidy Band, will be performing, starting at 6:30 p.m. Joanne and her band really put on a show, and will make you want to get up, kick off those Summer wedges and dance under the stars, waiting for the fireworks!!
Looking for something a little closer to the action? The Preservation Trust’s Patriotic Picnic is another great spot to enjoy town’s festivities. As the Trust says, “Fourth of July in Edgartown is American at its best,” and the they also provide a perfect backdrop for the holiday.
The fun begins at 2 p.m., starting with the Bay State Band Concert in the Old Whaling Church. This event is free, just like our amazing country. After the music, hope you’re hungry.
Imagine picnicking on the lawn of the Daniel Fisher House, right at the beginning of Main Street? It can happen for the holiday! An added bonus, think of all the shade from all those gorgeous trees there.
Here from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., you can enjoy all sorts of New England classics, prepared by Bill Smith’s Clambake. Think classic BBQ with a New England twist – perfect for before, during or after the parade.
Then wrap up your evening there with the Vineyard Haven Band concert at 7:30 p.m., a lot of fun for the whole family and also at the Old Whaling Church. After that, a walk down to Fuller Street Beach might be a good idea, to capture the fireworks.
Here too you can spend your whole afternoon in comfort and style for the 4th of July holiday, front row seats!
The After Party
After the glow of the fireworks fades away, get ready to keep the fun going. There are some great music options, DJ’s and live music.
For DJ’s, the Atlanic has DJ Sterling. The Seafood Shanty has DJ AP. For live music, there’s the Joanne Cassidy Band at the Harbor View Hotel (until 10:30 p.m.), The Chandler Blues Band at The Port Hunter, and 1 Night Stand at the Wharf Pub.
Another helpful hint, road closures begin at 4:30 p.m. Parking in town is limited, and Edgartown has great public transportation, and there’s plenty of parking at the Triangle. Car pooling is a nice option too. Just remember to drink plenty of water (recycle that plastic), bring sunblock, and have fun!
Though not in Edgartown, something that is a tradition for the Cramer family is the Children’s 4th of July Parade in the Martha’s Vineyard Campground in Oak Bluffs. At 10 a.m., you’ll find dozens and dozens of children lined up on Clinton Avenue (near the Allison Shaw Gallery), decorated to the nines in patriotic attire — decorated bikes, strollers, scooters, and even pets.
This small, family-friendly parade is as cute and hokey as it gets. You get to run into friends, and have a lot of laughs with what these kiddos come up with express their celebration of America’s birthday.
The weather on Martha’s Vineyard is going to be absolutely perfect for not only the 4th of July holiday, but for the whole week. There’s no better place to celebrate on Martha’s Vineyard.