Islander's know the tradition well. The third week of August picturesque Campground in Oak Bluffs is lit with lanterns and lifted with the sound of island voices singing together. However, not everyone knows the history.
Around 1835, Methodists began having yearly meetings in the midst of summer. They would bring tents and camp beside the sea, in an oak grove high on the bluffs of the Northern end of Edgartown. Over the years those tents were slowly replaced by little wooden cottages, built side by side. The Tabernacle was built in the 1870s, in the center of The Campground.
Now we have the wonderful tradition of Illumination Night! In its time the celebration marked the visit of the Governor of Massachusetts. The night means many things, but one could say that Illumination Night is in part a remembrance of the first seasonal visitors to the Island. The proceeds of the Grand Illumination go towards the upkeep and restoration of the historic Tabernacle. You can find more info about the event here!
One of our favorite parts of the Illumination Night is the variety of eclectic lights, candles, and visually spectacular lanterns. Whether you are on the Island and can join in the fun, or want to put up lights and participate from afar, we have plenty of beautiful options to choose from!
We're incredibly proud of our lantern collection. Our Allsop Home and Garden is the awesome solar powered lantern company we carry in the store, perfect for the sustainable, aesthetically driven islander! Artecnica of CA make our ever popular handmade paper stars. We also work with Cultural Intrigue, a Vermont based company, that specializes in rice paper shades and Zen Zen, a fair trade group that focuses on beautiful cloth shades.
You can't walk into the shop without stumbling upon a candle or two. From our artisanal Skeem, to Vance Kitira, to Shore Soap Candles... we could list them all day, but you'll find they aren't hard to miss!
We stock plenty of vessels to carry candles, swanky matches, strings of light, and other essentials to brighten up your evening. The best bet? Stop by the store! We can't wait you see you at Illumination Night!
If you want a little preview from Illumination Night of year's past, check out Susan Branch's blog! She wrote a lovely overview with lots of photos.