While her personage certainly fit the myriad characters of the town of Oak Bluffs and it could have been possible, it’s unlikely chicken lady Nancy Luce ever visited here in person. But she was well known — and probably the only Islander included in an Illumination Parade.

Begun by the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company in 1869, Illumination Night has lasted over the years as our celebration of summer’s end. Back in the 1870s in the Camp Ground it marked the end of the frivolous part of summer and was held the week before the actual camp meeting. Each successive year brought more merriment, displays of fireworks, decorations, lanterns and ultimately, when President Grant visited in 1874, a parade. That one simulated an older New England tradition, the Antiques and Horribles Parade, like Mardi Gras. A tin pan drum corps was followed by ghosts with croquet mallets, Asian figures and various frivolous characters; a comet, satanic figures, Brigham Young — and a walking caricature of “poor Nancy Luce.”

Described as deranged, whether she visited Oak Bluffs or not, many folks sought Ms. Luce out to buy her poems or deride her for entertainment. Celebrating her 200th birthday, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum exhibit of the Madonna of the Hens lasts until Jan. 31. This Saturday at 3 p.m. local poets will read her poetry after chief curator Bonnie Stacy speaks on Nancy Luce’s life and legacy that today makes her a beloved person popular to artists and poets. Characterized by hardship, sickness, and isolation, Nancy Luce eked a meager existence selling eggs, small books of poems about her chickens and photographs of herself. Her remarkable story is full of loneliness, but contains compassion, love and even moments of fierce joy.

The Niantics, members of the First Nation, were an Algonquian people with a sad story. By 1870, they were declared extinct and live in memory here in Oak Bluffs thanks to the tennis, basketball and children’s park formed by Wamsutta, Tuckernuck and Pocasset avenues. A new citizens' group — the Niantic Park Playground Project — has been formed to design and build a space reflecting the character of Oak Bluffs on a scale appropriate for a playground for family and kids. To do this the group wants to raise $46,000 privately by Jan. 31, 2015 to have a “community build” by next June. One of many moms involved, Guinevere Cramer says: “As a parent I love that there are a number of parks for my children to enjoy while growing up on Martha’s Vineyard. As a resident of Oak Bluffs, I’d love to have my town’s park be my and my children’s favorite.” Well said. Please send contributions to the Friends of Oak Bluffs noting (Niantic Park) to P.O. Box 1281, and I will continue to remind you. They are hosting a pancake breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at Slice of Life.

Featherstone Center for the Arts Holiday Gift Show lasts until Dec. 21 with handmade gifts from Island artists for sale. The show is open noon to 4 p.m. daily and admission is free. Today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (rain date is tomorrow Nov. 29) is the alliterative Felix Neck Fern & Feather Fall Festival of fun featuring hayrides, face painting, wreath making, crafts and live music from the Flying Elbows. Admission is $8 for nonmembers, $5 for members; call 508-627-4850 for information.

Oak Bluffs’ Santa Sweepstakes starts today and ends Dec. 19. Remember the annual tree lighting is Wednesday evening at Post Office Square.

The Federated Church hosts its Festival of Wreaths on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., where 75 hand-decorated wreaths will be on sale for reasonable prices. Call Marna Waller at 508-627-4421 for more information.

If you’re looking to start the New Year with new employment, Oak Bluffs is looking for fire and EMS personnel, a new health agent and an administrator at the Council on Aging. Check the town website for information and applications at oakbluffsma.gov.

Farm Pond entrepreneurs Jon and Miesha Suber who launched the Legendary clothing line now have merchandise for sale at Los Angeles’ LAX and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airports; congratulations!

I hope yours was a thankful home filled with family, food and football.

Keep your foot on a rock.

Send your Oak Bluffs news to: sfinley@mvgazette.com.