Barack Obama has kicked off his 60th birthday weekend on Martha’s Vineyard with an intimate cocktail party held at a swanky resort.
The former president will welcome dozens of friends to his $12 million mansion on the Massachusetts island for a larger party on Saturday, but he held a smaller soiree at the nearby Winnetu Resort on Friday evening.
Obama was pictured on the deck of the upscale establishment chatting with guests as they took in the sweeping views of the ocean at sundown.
The ex Commander-in-chief looked to be in high spirits, seen smiling as he schmoozed with the exclusive crowd of invitees. He cut a smart casual figure in black dress pants and a dark button down shirt worn without a tie.
The Democrat arrived separately from his wife, Michelle, in an SUV that was surrounded by armed guard.
Also in attendance were an array of high-powered guests, including actor Don Cheadle who rolled up in a vintage convertible Mercedes.
Barack Obama has kicked off his 60th birthday weekend on Martha’s Vineyard with an intimate cocktail party held at a swanky resort
Meanwhile, exclusive pictures and video obtained by DailyMail.com show the sprawling set-up for Obama’s Saturday celebrations,
With canopies and catering stations that dwarf the Obama’s mansion, DailyMail.com can reveal the true scale of the party that, according to the former president’s spokesman, was scaled back from a 500-person extravaganza to a small affair only for family and close friends.
Stars also began rolling into Martha’s Vineyard Friday afternoon, with the island’s airport abuzz with private jets and helicopters flying in ahead of the party expected to take place Saturday.
Biggest among the arrivals so far, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen who flew in just after 3:00pm Friday seen here in these exclusive pictures.
Ex-NBA star Dwayne Wade, his wife Gabriel Union and actor Don Cheadle were also spotted arriving on Martha’s Vineyard.
DailyMail.com has learned that Jay-Z and Beyoncé are already on the island as is George Clooney who, along with Oprah Winfrey, are just some of the big names believed to have made the final cut on the truncated guest list.
Scroll down for video
The vast main tent stands out over surrounding mansions on Martha’s Vineyard
A greenhouse tent was one of many temporary structures put up around the Obamas’ home ahead of the party
A sprung dancefloor was being laid next to the main house, leading onto a vast marquee
The giant tent dominates the local landscape, and the open sides showed workers setting up within
Outdoor chairs and couches were set up for guests ahead of Saturday’s party
Crowds of workers continued to erect tents as celebs flew on to the island for the party
Aerial shots showed staff setting out chairs and tables in the giant main tent
The event was scaled back from a 500-person extravaganza to a small affair only for family and close friends
Former senator and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry was also spotted along with television presenter and comedian Stephen Colbert. Both men have homes on the island.
And as the stars flew in the tents kept going up.
These exclusive images and video obtained by DailyMail.com show the vast marquee being erected behind the Obama’s waterfront property as workmen busily put up the canvas and set up catering equipment as the clock to the big event ticked down.
Despite protestations that this is a low-key family affair the images of the huge undertaking betray the true scale of Obama’s party.
A sprung dancefloor was being laid next to the main house and leading onto a vast marquee. Inside long tables at which guests will dine were visible along with shabby chic dining-chairs of bleached wood and woven oval backs.
Macramé rocking chairs and canvas outdoors chairs was stacked in preparation to create different moods and areas in which guests can lounge.
A large raised stage at the far end of the marquee showed speakers and technical equipment unpacked and ready to set up and a multi-screen display. Segments of what appeared to be a wall of pictures of Obama through the years lay as yet unmounted.
Chrissy Teigen is pictured arriving on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with and her son Miles and a stack of luggage
Teigen’s husband John Legend was seen with their bags as the couple arrived ahead of the party
Among the biggest arrivals are Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, who are seen in exclusive DailyMail.com photos
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade are seen arriving in Martha’s Vineyard ahead of the party
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade arriving at Martha Vineyard ahead of the star-studded party
Hunter Biden’s ex-wife Kathleen (left) and their daughter Finnegan (right) also arrived on the island for the party – but Hunter was nowhere to be seen
Late Show host Stephen Colbert and his wife Evelyn were also seen arriving the day before the star-studded event
Don Cheadle arrives ahead of Obama’s 60th birthday bash in Martha’s Vineyard wearing a hat and shades
Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Fields flew into Martha’s Vineyard before the event
Purple sweet-peas and cream rhododendrons sat in pots and large circular light fixtures sat on table tops waiting to be hung and add drama to this ‘low-key’ family affair.
A Sperry tent has been erected behind the main marquee and behind that catering tents and stations set up.
A staging tent with uniforms for servers and staff could be seen on the other side of the house.
A team of four event planners from KG Events & Design were also visible on sight keeping a keen eye on what is clearly a vast undertaking.
Workers quickly moved to close the canvas sides of the main tented area in a bid to conceal the set up within with tables and chairs in place and décor well underway.
From above the vast main tent stands out over surrounding mansions on Martha’s Vineyard as one of the most obvious and overwhelming structures.
The vast main tent even dwarfs the Obamas’ mansion house on the shore of Martha’s Vineyard
Construction work on tents and the dance floor continued on Friday, just a day before the party
Long tables at which guests will dine were visible along with shabby chic dining-chairs of bleached wood
Despite protestations that it is a low-key family affair, images of the huge undertaking betray the true scale of Obama’s party
The Obama residence is seen totally decked out in party preparations
Preparations for the scaled back birthday bash this weekend have been underway all week at the waterfront property
The tent included huge areas to prepare food, with the menu said to include Spam Musubi made with plant-based faux-beef and faux-pork and Eat Just’s plant based eggs
Rows of tables can be seen with seats already laid out, despite the Obamas insisting that the bash has been scaled back
A large raised stage at the far end of the marquee showed speakers and technical equipment unpacked and ready to set up and a multi-screen display
Musician Questlove of The Roots is among the guests expected to attend and perform and has, according to Fox News, also provided a meat-free menu for guests.
The menu is said to include Spam Musubi made with plant-based faux-beef and faux-pork and Eat Just’s plant based eggs.
Cheesesteak Eggrolls made with Impossible ‘beef’ and ‘cheese sauce,’ from Perfect Day Inc will also be offered.
But for those wanting a real taste of what the Vineyard can offer DailyMail.com has learned that there will also be stations with oyster shuckers to provide the best of the cape’s fresh shellfish.
Preparations for the scaled back birthday bash this weekend have been underway all week at the Obamas’ waterfront property where the former president had planned to host 500 friends, donors, former administration members, relatives, and celebrities.
But the birthday boy was forced to drastically cut the guest list trimming it down to just ‘family and close friends,’ thanks to a surge in the Covid-19 Delta variant that saw the planned party draw criticism from many quarters.
Star guests including Don Cheadle and Kim Fields have been flooding to the island ahead of the lavish party
Television presenter and comedian Stephen Colbert and his wife Evelyn already have a home on the island
John Legend is on car-seat duty as he and Chrissy Teigen arrive with their children for Obama’s party
Presidential enjoy for climate John Kerry took a private jet to the island of Martha’s Vineyard
Presidential enjoy for climate John Kerry was pictured arriving with his dogs and wearing a mask
One local businessman on Friday quipped that Obama has an expanded definition of what constitutes a ‘close friend.’
‘His close friends apparently include his golfing buddies, politicians, celebrities. Those people are here on the island and I doubt he’ll be turning them all away,’ the local said.
‘He wants people to think this is going to be small and intimate, but I don’t think we have the same definition of intimate.’
Seen for the first time since his birthday on Wednesday, Obama joked with DailyMail.com: ‘Just make sure you get a good picture of me!’ as he enjoyed a round of golf yesterday afternoon.
Heavy duty equipment was needed to help construct the vast main tent
Workers quickly moved to close the canvas sides of the main tented area in a bid to conceal the set up
Workers quickly moved to close the canvas sides of the main tented area in a bid to conceal the set up within with tables and chairs in place and décor well underway
These exclusive images and video obtained by DailyMail.com show workers busily put up the canvas and set up catering equipment as the clock to the big event ticked down
It seems the Obamas are still preparing to host a large number of guests as huge tents and large party arrangements were seen being made on Friday afternoon
Truckloads of supplies and equipment were brought in for the high-profile bash
The president emerged from the family’s $12million estate shortly after noon Thursday. Making the most of a break in the weather after a rainy start to the day, he took to the greens of Farm Neck Club on the edges of the town of Oak Bluffs.
Former White House photographer Pete Souza shadowed Obama as he played golf.
The 60-year-old joined the club which boasts that it is ‘fully organic,’ with ground keepers using no chemicals or pesticides, in 2016.
The course also encourages caddies not carts and the president and his three companions towed the line and walked the course.
Membership costs $12,000 a year on top of a $350,000 initiation fee and is currently at full capacity with 305 members.
Dressed in mottled navy polo shirt and navy slacks, he a wore a silver trimmed navy baseball cap that appeared to be a light-hearted birthday gift and bore the numbers 44 and 60 – a nod to his presidency and age.
Obama was seen for the first time since he turned 60 Wednesday in these exclusive pictures and video showing the former president enjoying a round of golf near his home in Martha’s Vineyard
Security is seen alone the shoreline behind the Obama residence on the eve of his 60th birthday party in Edgartown, Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard
Preparations for the scaled back birthday bash this weekend have been underway all week at the Obamas’ waterfront property where the former president originally planned to host 500 friends, donors, former administration members, relatives, and celebrities
He cut a svelte and casual figure as he spent the afternoon with friends. He then rounded off his day with a trip to family favorite The Barn, a bowling bistro and bar.
It appeared to be a boys-only evening of bowling and food and music at the venue.
It had been closed for the day to allow for security sweeps and the rainy evening was peppered with many disappointed would-be diners and bowlers who hadn’t got the memo and had to be turned away by security.
Guests began to arrive for the low key event shortly after 7pm with a handful making their way into the red wood building on the edge of Oak Bluffs.
The former president arrived solo at 7:45, bare-headed and masked, he wore a rain jacket, chinos and Stan Smith shoes.
Michelle and the girls were not with him for what appeared to be more of a low-key boys night after an afternoon of golf.
The muted thwump of music and bowling balls could be heard long into the night with Obama finally emerging shortly before 11pm.
Secret Service looked on from the course perimeter and former White House photographer Pete Souza was there on the course to memorialize the day as the man who clocked up more than 300 rounds as president indulged his passion for the game across five hours of play.
The former president emerged from the family’s $12million estate shortly after noon. Making the most of a break in the weather after a rainy start to the day he took to the greens of Farm Neck Club on the edges of the town of Oak Bluffs
The smiling former president was dressed in mottled navy polo shirt and navy slacks, Obama wore a silver trimmed navy baseball cap
DailyMail.com exclusively revealed on Tuesday that preparations were underway with equipment for tents and catering arriving at the top of the private road that runs down to the family’s estate overlooking the Vineyard’s Great Pond.
The event is being planned and organized by KG Events & Design – a local company run by Massachusetts born sisters Kristen and Meghan Gosselin – DailyMail.com learned.
It is a dream role for Kristen who, when asked who she admired in an interview with local glossy ‘My Living Magazine’ a couple of years ago Kristen replied: ‘I mean, I loved Michelle Obama, everything about who she is is remarkable she’s an amazing woman.’
News that the party was being scaled down has been met with a mixed response in the island’s string of small towns including Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Tisbury (also known as Vineyard Havens) and Chilmark.
One Chilmark resident told DailyMail.com: ‘I know a lot of people were counting on the income from all the people flooding in and they’re disappointed. But to be honest the place is still busy and there’s also a lot of people who won’t miss the traffic.’
Obama’s Secret Service vehicles leave the family home in Martha’s Vineyard
Obama joined the club which boasts that it is ‘fully organic,’ with ground keepers using no chemicals or pesticides, in 2016
Obama’s personal photographer from the White House – Pete Souza – followed him around the course.
They added: ‘We have a local fair coming up and I’m more worried about whether that’s going to happen than Obama’s party. People here are used to them and we’re excited but it’s not top of my list of concerns.’
Hotels across all of the towns reported cancellations the morning after the former president, who had initially appeared resolute in his determination to forge ahead with the party that a spokesperson insisted abided by all CDC recommendations, announced his change of heart.
But rooms on the island on Saturday night remained as rare as hen’s teeth in a season that has been historically busy and DailyMail.com was told that part of the reason is that many of the most wealthy would-be attendees had opted to rent houses rather than stay in hotels.
According to one: ‘The island is always full of celebrities and it still is but you won’t see them out and about. They come here to fly under the radar.
‘Sometimes you’ll see the Obamas popping in somewhere for dinner and there will be a little, ‘Oh!’ of excitement but then they just get on with their meal and people here leave them alone.
‘There’s really been the same attitude to this big party. Or is it a small party now? I’ve lost track.
DailyMail.com was there to witness a cavalcade of catering trucks rolling into the former president’s vast Martha’s Vineyard estate on Tuesday as preparations for his birthday party began.
After spending the day on the green, Obama headed to family favorite The Barn, a bowling bistro and bar, for dinner and bowling with friends
The venue had been closed for the day to allow for security sweeps ahead of Obama’s arrival
The exclusive images and video gave the first glimpse of what will now be a downsized version of the party that had once been set for 500 guests but will now be a smaller but no less glitzy affair for family and friends.
The island towns of Edgartown, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs – all places where the Obamas have been spotted during their stays on Martha’s Vineyard – are already abuzz with anticipation of the arrival of guests.
The streamlined guest list will be hosted to an event under the canopy of local firm Big Sky Tents and Party Rentals.
Three large Big Sky trucks emerged from the long private sandy road leading to the Obamas’ $12million property late Tuesday afternoon.
Barack Obama scaled back his 500-person 60th birthday party this upcoming weekend to a low key celebration with close friends and family. The former president poses with (from left) wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia on Thanksgiving Day on November 27, 2019
The local company run by a husband and wife team boasts of offering ‘style and elegance’ to any outdoor event and has been featured in the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings.
They provide Sperry Tents – open sided tents made out of sailcloth with nautical touches in keeping with the New England locale including wooden support poles to waving pennant flags.
The company which was born out of owners Jim and Ann-Marie Eddy’s own wedding planning more than two decades ago offers personalized consultations and a ‘unique inventory’ of tables, chairs, china, crystal, linen and silver in their Edgartown showroom.
Shortly after their trucks emerged, a catering truck bearing Nancy’s Restaurant logo turned in.
Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs is a firm favorite for the Obamas who have been spotted getting take-out from the family eatery that provides seafood classics and frozen cocktails and whose menu is heavily influence by Middle Eastern cuisine.
Guests at Obama’s 60th can expect to enjoy all the fresh shellfish and seafood the Vineyard can offer in a menu that may well include Nancy’s famous gyro plates, grape leaves and falafels.
Neighbors at Obama’s property overlooking Great Pond are protective of the celebrity family in their midst and some are clearly put on edge by the prospect of a further celebrity influx.
On Tuesday, two women out walking their dog harangued ‘gawkers’ and swiftly reported any unknown vehicles to local police who are providing enhanced security along with the former first family’s own Secret Service detail.
According to one who did not give her name: ‘It’s very difficult for us [residents] right now. There’s heightened security and people driving through who don’t belong on this road, gawkers.’
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos offered a first glimpse of party preparations for Obama’s 60th birthday celebration at his Martha’s Vineyard estate
A cavalcade of catering trucks were seen rolling into the former president’s vast Martha’s Vineyard estate Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s party
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the President and Mrs Obama issued a statement which read: ‘Due to the new spread of the Delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends.
‘President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.’
The White House had previously defended the former president’s plan with Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodging questions on the matter and saying: ‘I would note first that former President Obama has been a huge advocate of individuals getting vaccinated.’
While the party list may have shrunk, protection of the controversial bash was heightened Wednesday as DailyMail.com learned that the area of the sky in which drones must not fly has been extended.
Images obtained by DailyMail.com show the wide blue DJI Geo Zone as it was on Monday. Remote operated drones are not permitted to fly without authorization in the highlighted area.
On Wednesday, a new, red area was added, extending the no-fly zone and centered over the Obama property.
Drones that stray into a blue zone will be prompted and their flight limited by default. Any drone flying in a red zone – the highest level of restriction – can be commandeered and brought down over land or sea.
The party will be held outside the Obamas’ 7,000-square-foot home in Edgarton, which he and former first lady Michelle bought in 2019 for nearly $12 million (pictured)
Security was also heightened Wednesday as DailyMail.com learned there is now a no-fly zone for drones centered over the Obama property
The party, according to multiple reports, was supposed to take place outdoors on the Obamas’ $12 million 30-acre Martha’s Vineyard waterfront mansion.
But as more plans became public this week, the former president came under fire for the tone deaf event as many areas of the country returned to pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates indoors.
There was also a ‘coronavirus coordinator’, who was making sure the event was compliant with the most recent CDC guidance.
Guests were required to take coronavirus tests and submit their results to the medical ‘coronavirus coordinator’ to gain entry to the Obama compound.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama wished her husband a happy 60th birthday Wednesday in a sweet social media post
Former first lady Michelle brought some levity to the controversy Wednesday by posting a sweet tribute to the ‘wonderful father and husband’ on his big day.
The 57-year-old took to social media to share a message for her husband, while also posting a never-before-seen photo of the couple posing with their daughters, Malia and Sasha.
‘Of all of your accomplishments, I know that being a present, loving father to our girls tops them all,’ she wrote.
‘Thank you for never letting the weight of the world get in the way of being a wonderful husband and father. Happy 60th birthday, @BarackObama!’