Tisbury's Two-Day New Year's Affair Aided by Donation


No one regards the first of January with indifference, and this year Tisbury is inviting the Island community to welcome 2004 with two days of celebration highlighted by a fireworks display over Vineyard Haven harbor New Year's Eve.

The Last Night, First Day festival, now in its third year, has always run on the contributions of the Island community, but this year an unexpected $10,000 donation from Ernie Boch Jr. and his family has gone a long way toward funding the event.

"When we called to see if he might be interested in helping out, he asked how much the fireworks were," said Jeff Pratt, coordinator of the Tisbury Ambulance Association and point man for Last Night, First Day. "We told him, and he said, ‘Done.' Our jaws dropped."

The entire celebration costs about $16,000.

"Mr. Boch's contribution is incredibly magnanimous. It will certainly help ensure next year's performance," said Mr. Pratt. "But we receive a lot of donations, and all of them, large and small, are appreciated. People get hit up all year by all sorts of causes, and their coming through for us means a lot."

About 30 events are planned for next Wednesday and Thursday, and admission to all is the cost of one button: $12, and $5 for students and seniors.

Last year organizers counted $4,000 in button revenue - and estimated about 2,000 people came into Tisbury over the two-day event. Any revenue received beyond the cost of the event goes in the kitty for next year.

"We didn't end last year with as much money in the bank as we had hoped, but even without the seed money we're confident we'll more than meet expenses this year," said Mr. Pratt. "It'll all come down to those button sales."

The ambulance association took over responsibility for planning the festivities two years ago with the goal of raising awareness about the need for volunteer EMTs. "We wanted to promote an alcohol-free and safe family event, and to correlate that with the ambulance association," Mr. Pratt said.

He added that the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and the Tisbury Business Association, the original sponsors, still provide support.

The fireworks show kicks off at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve. As always: "We're looking to do even better than last year," said Mr. Pratt. They have hired CW Pyrotechnics, the same company that puts on Oak Bluffs' August spectacular.

Other highlights on Dec. 31 include the music program, which this year has been expanded to include Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, who will perform at the Katharine Cornell Theatre. Also on Wednesday are two favorites from last year: The J.C. and Danny Wright Jazz Duo will appear at the Hebrew Center and the Flying Elbows at the Vineyard Playhouse.

Following the fireworks at 9:30 will be a rock concert co-sponsored by JAM (Just About Music), known on the Island for hosting the teen Battle of the Bands at the Hot Tin Roof. Bands on the schedule include Olive, Outerland Funk Trio and John Barleycorn and the Social Drinkers.

Mr. Pratt also pointed to WIMP and IMP, the Island's improvisational comedy troupe and their teen off-shoot, as big draws.

Mr. Pratt said IMP was standing room only last year, "and it's going to be even bigger this year. Anyone who wants a seat should get there early."

IMP starts the New Year's Eve show at the Katharine Cornell Theatre at 7 p.m. and WIMP takes the stage at 8.

Also new this year are two showings at the Capawock Theatre of The Wizard of Oz, at 1 and 7 p.m.

On New Year's Day the activities continue, with several events aimed at younger kids, including a crazy hat parade (anyone without a crazy hat can stop by the Tisbury police and ambulance facility at noon to make one).

Buttons are on sale at Alley's General Store in West Tisbury; the Bunch of Grapes bookstore, Island Entertainment and the chamber of commerce in Vineyard Haven; Mocha Motts in Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown Books. (Kids under 10 get in for free when accompanied by a button holder.) Buttons are good for admission into all Last Night, First Day activities.

For more information visit www.mvy.com or call 508-693-0085. Following is a list of highlights for Last Night, First Day.

Festivities Set in Vineyard Haven Will Welcome the New Year 2004

Last Night, First Day festivities include family-oriented events which are available with the purchase of a button. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place in Vineyard Haven.

Tuesday, Dec. 30:

Ice Skating at MV Ice Arena on the Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road in Oak Bluffs is held from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Admission is $2 with a Last Night, First Day button.

Wednesday, Dec. 31:

Opera sing-along with Charles Blank is held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Tisbury Senior Center. Start off the evening before dark with a tour of the Die Fledermaus operetta with a former concertmistress.

Trains and Tree Tour at Fourway Carriage House, 95 Franklin street, is held from 3 to 9 p.m. The historic house has a lighted, 24-foot tree and electric trains encircling it for kids to enjoy.

The Wizard of Oz plays at the The Capawock Theatre at 4 p.m. (special children's showing) and 7 p.m. Dress as your favorite character and come see this all-time classic in the Island's first big screen showing.

Free Mini-Golf game at Island Cove Mini Golf on State Road from 4 to 7 p.m.

Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish play at the Katharine Cornell Theatre on Spring street from 5:45 to 7 p.m.

J.C. and Danny Wright Jazz Duo play from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at The Hebrew Center on Centre street.

The Flying Elbows, a bluegrass band, play at the Vineyard Playhouse from 6 to 7 p.m.

Vineyard Belly Dance and Review is held at the Unitarian-Universalist Society on Main street from 6 to 7 p.m. in a performance formerly known as The Eastern Melodies.

IMP, a teenage improvisational comedy group, performs at the Katharine Cornell Theatre from 7 to 8 p.m.

Corinne de Langevant and Bruce MacNelly perform classic folk rock and original songs at the Vineyard Playhouse from 7 to 8 p.m.

Mark Lovewell, a Vineyard folk singer specializing in songs and stories of the sea, performs from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Unitarian-Universalist Society. Mr. Lovewell has written the fishermen's column for the Vineyard Gazette for 16 years.

A Family Outing from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Vineyard Assembly of God on State Road features magician The Great Benafuchi from 7 to 9 p.m. followed by a prayer and music service from 9 to 11 p.m.

Maynard Silva plays the blues at The Hebrew Center from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

WIMP, the Island's comedy troupe in the style of "Whose Line is it Anyway?" performs at the Katharine Cornell Theatre at 8 p.m.

Nancy Jephcote, a singer-songwriter, performs with her fiddle at The Unitarian-Universalist Society from 8 to 9 p.m.

Paul Thurlow performs at the Vineyard Playhouse from 8 to 9 p.m.

Fireworks display: Come down to the harbor for a grand 9 p.m. show.

JAM Concert, an all ages rock concert at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, is held from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Olive, Outerland Funk Trio and John Barleycorn and the Social Drinkers perform.

Thursday, Jan. 1:

The Great Benafuchi gives an extravaganza of circus antics, clowning and acrobatic feats at The Hebrew Center from 11 a.m. to noon.

CoCo the Clown, accompanied by Bruce MacNelly, performs classic songs at the Unitarian Universalist Society from 11 a.m. to noon.

Horse and Carriage Rides are offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. between the Tisbury Marketplace off Beach Road and Bowl and Board on Main street.

Trains and Tree at Fourway Carriage House is offered from noon to 4 p.m. See details in 12/31 listing.

Star Light, Star Bright, a song, a wish and short ride on a parachute, is offered at the the Hebrew Center from noon to 1 p.m. Movement and music are combined in this special ceremony for child and adult participation. Have a special New Year's wish in mind.

Mark Lovewell performs a kids' program of folksongs at the Unitarian Universalist Society from noon to 1 p.m.

Hat Making at the Tisbury Police and Ambulance facility, at the rear of the Stop and Shop parking Lot, is held from noon to 1 p.m.

Crazy Hat and Bright Lights Parade with Coco the Clown and Cammy the Camel begins at 1 p.m. at the Tisbury police and ambulance facility. Create a hat by recycling holiday ribbons and wrapping paper, or join the program above. The parade will begin at the Tisbury police and ambulance facility and make its way to the Steamship Authority parking lot, where prizes will be given out.