Yeah, it’s still summer. This past week continued to see a flurry of activities, with many people heading up to Martha’s Vineyard. All of the usual events, such as Illumination Night, where the cottages located on the campgrounds are adorned with colorfully decorated lanterns to light up the path, the fireworks and BET night, usually starring Doug E. Fresh, who performs for hours, have been scheduled for later in the month. This schedule is much to the dismay of many parents with college-bound kids, who have to cut their vacations short to get back to school during the second half of August. One such parent is Angie Johnson, whose son Gabe will travel back to Hampton.
Other first-halfers include Derrick and Claudia Singleton, whose daughter Sydney isn’t in college (try third grade) and Bill and Brenda Cavette. Then there are those, such as Shirley Cuves, with daughter Angela, who has finished grade school and college, who are lucky enough to be on the Vineyard for all of August. Still others, like Valery Dargan, Edith Matthews and Father Daryl James, won’t come up until the very end of August and carry the party over into Labor Day.
Howard University’s Black alumni have broken up their summer soire on the Vineyard into two parts, so everyone can participate, no matter which half of the season they are there. One event will take place. The first Bison on the Vineyard event has already taken place. The Black alumni celebrated their 50th anniversary and their eigth year of holding court on the Vineyard. Of course, everything begins on the beach, aka, the Inkwell. Before you do anything, which includes checking in at wherever you’re staying, you check in at the beach. There was the tradition president’s welcome party and art show, the tennis tournament, golf tournament and a few talks and lectures. Also on the itinerary was the African-American Heritage Trail Tour, Parts I and II. This event can best be touted as “A series of sites dedicated to telling the story of the African-American experience on Martha’s Vineyard and the contributions made by people of color to the history of this Island. The trail covers pre-revolutionary America, the years before the Civil War, the involvement of the Wampanoag tribe and the Shearer Cottage, family-owned and operated with pride since 1903. This is the first guesthouse on Martha’s Vineyard to cater to African-American visitors! Part I is a four-hour tour of the entire Island-wide Martha’s Vineyard Heritage Trail. The complete tour includes each island town: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Aquinnah, Chilmark and Menemsha Village.”
The pirates on the Vineyard represented the Black alumni from Hampton University. Their special weekend took place Aug. 4th to 10th. It began, of course, with a welcoming reception at the Inkwell. The Facebook page is already loaded with “likes” and comments. A few of those caught maxing and relaxing were Meloni Parker reading, “The Things I Use to Do to Sneeze,” by Monica Cost; Marc Alexander, who was the week’s organizer; and Kristen Jenkins. To sum it up, “It was a week of networking, wine tasting, cooking, surf splashing, bike riding, running, cooking, eating, photography and lots and lots and lots of laughter.”
Keeping pace out on the East End, in Sag Harbour, Harlem in the Hamptons will take place Saturday, Aug. 16, from noon–5 p.m. (rain date, Sunday, Aug. 17). This year, the hosting committee will recognize the accomplishments of Judge W. Franc Perry. Activities will take place at the Eastville Community Historical Society, 139 Hampton St. For all of those able, hop on the bus or train or drive, if you dare, to be there. Invitations are going out already for the Sag Harbour annual Labor Day weekend party. I am putting my request in now to Susan Taylor to make fried chicken and Carlton Holmes to make pina coladas.
James McBride, author of “The Good Lord Bird,” represented at the annual East Hampton’s 10th annual Author’s Night book fair. The fair, which is a benefit for the East Hampton Public Library, attracts many from the literary crowd who stand in line for what seems like hours, to have the author sign their books. Afterward, the authors dine at a private dinner held in select homes among the East Hampton patrons. Hundreds of bookworms pour in for this event, and it can almost be classified as the height of the East Hampton social season.
Meanwhile, here in the city, those of Dominican lineage celebrated their heritage with the Dominican Day parade. While it was a joyous day for many, it was a traffic nightmare for others. All of Upper Manhattan, from 175th to Dykman Street, from Broadway east to Amsterdam, was in total gridlock, if not a standstill, all day long. There were plenty of police in riot gear, but very few directing traffic. Unfortunately, I was one of those caught up in the traffic chaos and can only hope next year I’ll be out of town.
If you’re in the city, and I love the city in the summertime, Harlem Week activities abound everywhere. Visit Harlemweek.com/events for a full list of dates, places and times, as there is an enjoyable event for everyone. The Tri-State Jr. Tennis Competition is a great kick-off to the U.S. Open, which begins the end of August. Open to the public, the tennis competition will be held Aug. 15 and 16, Mill Pond Park Tennis Courts, Exterior Street and East 150th Street, Bronx, N.Y., and Aug. 17 and 18, the Special Tennis Exhibitions & Championships will take place at Howard Bennett Playground, W. 135th Street (between 5th Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard.). The place to be Saturday Aug. 16 is 135th Street from the Park Avenue to 5th Avenue, for a children’s fair, swimming events held at the Hansborough Center (aka, the bathhouse) and a college fair, where more than 50 historic Black colleges, universities and public, private, city and state colleges and universities will distribute information on admissions, scholarships and financial aid. Although all of the events have various sponsors, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce is at the heart of it all. So get out and enjoy.
Until next week … kisses.