Summer on the Vineyard officially kicks off with the Oak Bluffs Harbor Festival (Oak Bluffs, mid-June, www.oakbluffsmv.com ), a carnival full of live music, craft vendors, and food booths along the waterfront. Competition is fierce for the annual chalk-art contest.
Every Sunday during the warmer months, local artists and craftsmen display their wares at the Vineyard Artisans Fair (Grange Hall, West Tisbury, 508/693-8989, www.vineyardartisans.com , 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun. June–Sept., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Thurs. July–Aug.). There is always a good selection of watercolors and photography of island scenes.
One of the most anticipated nights of the summer is the Grand Illumination (Campground, Oak Bluffs, 508/693-0525, mid-Aug.), when the gingerbread cottages of the Oak Bluffs  revival camp are all lit up with thousands of paper lanterns. Depending on your frame of mind, the effect is romantic or intensely spiritual.
The week following the illumination is the annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair (West Tisbury, 508/693-4343, www.mvas.vineyard.net ), which for almost 150 years has celebrated the farming history of the island. Displays include sheep and cow pens, wood-chopping competitions, country bands, fireworks, and, of course, a Ferris wheel.