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At almost any time of the year, there’s a festive atmosphere on Martha’s Vineyard.  Festivals happen throughout the year, with the highest concentration taking place in the summer. That said, like the rest of New England, autumn on the Vineyard is not only rich in colorful foliage, but also replete with harvest and arts festivals.  The full schedule can be found on the Calendar of Events. Following are a few iconic Vineyard festivals to tempt you!

Tastes and Treats
One of the biggest Island gatherings is the annual Agricultural Fair.  The Ag Fair, to those in the know, runs for four days in mid-August in West Tisbury. There are carnival rides and games, shucking and fiddle contests, pig races and livestock shows, a woodsmen competition, and a lot more!  Partnered with Grand Illumination, and the Oak Bluffs Fireworks, this is a nearly perfect week on the Vineyard!

The Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival is a recurring event, typically scheduled for the weekend following Columbus Day.  Seminars, dinners, pairings and tastings abound throughout this four-day festival!

Other food festivals to check out: MV Restaurant Week (Spring), the Annual Art of Chocolate at Featherstone Center for the Arts (Columbus Day Weekend),  the Popcorn Festival at Native Earth Teaching Farm, the MV Craft Beer Festival (end of September) and the local Farmers Market (twice weekly throughout the summer).

Books & Films
As it alternates with the MV Book Festival, authors and readers descend on Chilmark and Edgartown to celebrate the written word at the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival Summer Series. In any given year the Series hosts numerous nationally acclaimed authors who come to speak about writing, read from their own works, and participate in  discussions during the 4-day event. Best of all, all events are free and open to the public.

If you prefer watching stories to reading them, a trio of annual film festivals on the Vineyard will keep you entertained. As the Island wakes from its winter slumber in March, head to Chilmark for the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival: a weekend of independent films from around the world, amazing local food, music, and art. In August, the African American Film Festival spends four days showcasing works by independent African-American filmmakers. In September, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society presents the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival  - a triumph of films drawn from the world’s most renowned festivals and shown in the beautiful setting of the Vineyard.

Arts and Performance
October is Fall for the Arts – a month-long celebration of the depth and diversity of all the Island’s arts & culture!  A mainstay of arts & culture is the Vineyard Artisans Festivals. The juried shows feature some of the best creative work done by Island artists. Festivals begin on Memorial Day Weekend and run twice weekly throughout the summer. Special shows are held on Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and a Holiday Festival in December.

Built on Stilts is a unique dance festival that celebrates the multi-faceted language of movement in an all-inclusive, egalitarian form. Participants hail from the Island and from major dance companies in New York, Boston, and elsewhere, with members of varying ages and dance styles. Two performances take place in mid-August. Don’t miss it!

Other Arts & Culture Festivals to Check Out:
Weekly in July and August Shakespeare at the Amphitheater is presented by the Vineyard Playhouse on stage adjacent to the Tashmoo Overlook; Late July welcomes the Native American Artisans Festival in Aquinnah while Antique Shows on Wednesdays also punctuate the weeks of summer. The season culminates in late October with Art*Island Festival of Arts & Ideas.

Only on the Vineyard…
Several festivals are unique to the Vineyard, including Sail Martha’s Vineyard regatta; the Grand Illumination, a magical evening at the gingerbread cottages; and the The Martha’s Vineyard Wind Festival which pits kite-fliers in friendly competition with one another in categories like highest-flying and best wind sculpture.  ​​

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