Autoharps, dulcimers, guitars, steel drums, saxophones, tambourines, violins, harmonicas and almost anything else that will carry a tune will ring out over Magens Bay this Sunday in the island’s annual celebration of October Sunday, one of the community’s most fondly held musical traditions.
Veteran troopers Polly and Fred Watts and company invite everyone to come have fun in the tradition that started 37 years ago. It’s all local, all music, all camaraderie and all fun.
Since October Sunday began in Sib’s Bar parking lot in 1977, nothing has stopped the festival – not even Hurricane Hugo in 1989 or Hurricane Marilyn in 1995.
In October 1995 a scaled-down but spirited version of the music fest took place in Emancipation Garden, raising nearly $4,000 for the American Red Cross and offering a lift to the spirits of the community, many of whom were living under the blue FEMA tarps.
The event has changed venues over the years. It grew too big for Sib’s many moons ago and moved to other locales including the Crown Bay landfill, the Reichhold Center parking lot, the Joseph Aubain Ballpark in Frenchtown and to its current home at Magens Bay beach.
The celebration is now smaller, more intimate, and, if anything, more fun. October Sunday benefits the Family Resource Center, which will have a dandy little yard sale all day Sunday with everything from your sister’s old colander to music CDs and books.
The celebration starts at 11 a.m. at Shed Four and it will feature the island’s biggest birthday cake along with hamburgers and hot dogs for a modest price. Folks are encouraged to bring a dish in potluck fashion. And there’s a big raffle with amazing prizes, according to organizer Polly Watts. Admission is free.
Here’s the lineup:
11 a.m. –Ivanna Eudora Kean High School jazz ensemble;
12:20 p.m. – My Sisters and Me – Lori Abbotts and friends, a cappella;
12:45 p.m. – Hurricane Bob – keyboard;
1:30 p.m. – Women of Note – Polly Watts and several notable friends sing and sing;
1:45 p.m. – Chantal Carty – Suzuki violinist;
2 p.m. – Tim West – big band;
3 p.m. – Pure and Simple – Polly and Fred Watts, Carl Butler, Paul Dirks and others;
3:25 p.m. – Family and Friends – same cast as above with traditional sing-along songs;
4 p.m. – Sarah Smith Band – new country group;
5 p.m. – Sun Kings – Steve Richman, Paul Dirks and Jason Jones, the traditional celebration closers.