The Friends of Oak Bluffs works closely with the highway and parks departments with the goal of creating a beautiful community for our much-beloved Victorian town, and it is purely a volunteer organization. Started in the early 1970s by a group that included the late David Healy (who Post Office Square is named after), the Friends work is never more apparent than during these holiday times. Its members are Renee Balter, Anita Billings, Nancy Billings, Mark and Bernie Crossland, Ann and Duncan Ross, Priscilla Sylvia, Ethel Tyson, Susie Wallo and Judy Williamson.

Virtually all the flowers planted in and around downtown, all of the memorial benches, the bricks surrounding the bandstand in Ocean Park and most of the decorative street lanterns have been projects of the Friends. If you’re interested, the benches are $500, the bricks are $100 and the few remaining street lanterns along the harbor, Lake avenue, Nashawena and Waban Parks are $3,000 — and tax deductible. There’s more information on the website, The Friends are responsible for the continuing Sea View avenue beach, railing and walkway improvement, a long-term project they have adopted.

It is Crossland Landscape we thank for the ever-improving Christmas decorations around town, the flowers, labor and maintenance of the decor except at Post Office Square.

The Friends of Oak Bluffs lend their support to the new citizen group — the Niantic Park Playground Project — that has embarked upon a mission to add playground equipment to Niantic Park upon its completion. There are many folks involved, the town’s Amy Billings and consultant Kris Horiuchi in particular have done an amazing job getting the overall park project off the ground. Greg Ehrman of Hutker Architects ( provides a glimpse of the vision where the design inspiration features elements such as the historic steam ferry Martha’s Vineyard, the East Chop Lighthouse and a space that may reflect the character of a neighborhood front porch, perhaps similar to what the Smithsonian Museum plans for its Oak Bluffs exhibit.

The playground will have all of the swings, slides and monkey bars you would expect to find. It’s nice to see so many folks involved in restoring Niantic Park. C’est la Vie’s Jennifer Schilling (and her gorgeous children Roger and Bella) shared the booth with others on Tivoli Day, helping raise funds. Offshore Ale hosted a dine and donate on Nov. 20 and this Saturday, Slice of Life is hosting a pancake breakfast with Santa from 8 to 10:30 a.m. The good folks involved have included the Red Stocking Fund in the fundraiser; bring an unwrapped toy and get a free picture with Santa. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for Santa’s helpers — and ‘tis the season — larger contributions towards the $46,000 goal are most welcome. They’ve raised over $2,700 already. Contributions are tax deductible; send yours to the Friends of Oak Bluffs (noting Niantic Park) to P.O. Box 1281.

Lisa Reagan reports that last week’s Thanksgiving Turkey Trot was well attended by over 250 runners, including children and pets. The 5K race was won by Jon Evan Hornsby with a time of 16:49. The youngest runner in the top 20, placing 19th, was 14-year-old Rose Engler who finished in fewer that 23 minutes. The oldest person (age 63) to finish in the top 20 was Karen Durante who finished in 21:42, 15th place. The competitive race had a true family feel with strollers, coordinating outfits, and multiple generations where the youngest registered was 5-year-old Gabriel Bengtsson, and the most senior were Stephen Bohan, Owen Nee and Fast Eddie, each 71 years young. The race committee thanks J.B. Blau of Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, Roger Wey, the Oak Bluffs Police Department, Michele Moore, Oak Bluffs School students, and members of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School National Honor Society. Congratulations to all the runners, walkers and trotters who supported the Oak Bluffs School.

Christmas in Oak Bluffs continues with a horse-drawn hayride tomorrow, Dec. 6, followed by a holiday market at Dreamland and a puppet parade. Get more information at

Other friends, the Library Friends of Oak Bluffs, are having their holiday party at the library tomorrow from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Maybe the Friends of Oak Bluffs will add benches and lights to the new Niantic Park?

Twenty days and counting!

Keep your foot on a rock.

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