Early Progress Outstripped Other Towns — Oak Bluffs Is Still Principal Summer Landing Place, Center of Gaiety was the prescient headline in the May 6, 1949 Vineyard Gazette of an article extolling the physical and metaphysical virtues of our favorite town. Ostensibly the story about why Oak Bluffs found itself in print so widely leads off with a brief history, acknowledging the growth of our population. We “revealed a progressiveness that outstripped the other towns for generations. Paved streets and trolley cars, electric lights and an elaborate park system” built early in our development provided the “reputation for gaiety and brilliance that was so much a part of the national picture in the Gay Nineties.”

With Oak Bluffs designed as a glorified summer resort, the builders achieved their dream never realizing we would become a year-round community. Credit was given to the strength of the immigrant Portuguese community that, desiring home ownership, carved out the farms and homesteads, “turning what had been a wilderness into a garden spot and later, a village in itself.” They and their descendants, the article continues, “have succeeded to many positions of trust and responsibility in the town’s government and business.” Bearing in mind this was written in 1949, the article rhetorically claimed that Oak Bluffs was “still a humming center of gaiety and enterprise.” The highly complementary, easily 1,300-word tome waxes rhapsodically about Oak Bluffs, something Isaac Hayes did with one word . . . hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic. We are indeed.

Saturday is the much-anticipated Teddy Bear Tea Party from 10 a.m. to noon at the library. I might roust Panda Bear early and get over there. At 1 p.m. the library features a healthy cooking demonstration titled Eating Well by Color with Jenn Chang of MV Partnership for Health. This is part of the Fit in ’15 program and perhaps something tastier than all that exercise folks have to do to get older. Promised are recipes, handouts and tips on using colorful food to tart up your smoothies, salad dressings and soup.

Congratulations to Ana Ilievska, assistant branch manager and marketing specialist who has been appointed as manager of Edgartown National Bank’s new Oak Bluffs branch at the top of Circuit avenue. Active with the Chamber of Commerce and the Island community, Ana also manages the bank’s donations to Island charities and nonprofit organizations. Recently married, she moved to the Island in 2012 after graduating from Westminster College in Missouri. Stop by and say hello.

The Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation has passed $700,000 of the $1,000,000 needed to renovate the historic Strand Theatre (and Vineyard Haven’s Capawock). There are only two weeks left to meet the goal of having it ready for the season, so won’t you please make a donation? Organizations are lining up to use the theatre for concerts, talks, fundraising and many special events giving Oak Bluffs the “reputation for gaiety and brilliance” we’re known for. I hope the Oak Bluffs Association is also getting members to participate. No matter how small or large, contributions are being accepted via mail c/o Winnetu Oceanside Resort, 31 Dunes Road, Edgartown, MA 02539 or directly on the website, mvtheaterfoundation.org.

Lance Pope recently gifted the Martha’s Vineyard Museum with a fabulous album of pictures of his dad, the late Lincoln Pope Jr., a former state representative from Roxbury. Representative Pope was the first black Democrat elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He and his wife Gloria cofounded the Oak Bluffs Tennis Club at Niantic Park where tournaments were held on Labor Day for over 40 years. Several pictures of the beautiful couple at business, social and political gatherings are included along with photographs of Representative Pope with Cardinal Cushing, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Harry Truman and others. He died in 1979 and she in 2009, here in Oak Bluffs. If you have historic Vineyard photographs, the museum would love to take a look — and if you have film, contact Tom Dunlop here at the Gazette, tdunlop@mvgazette.com, where it will receive reverential treatment — and be safely returned.

We’re two weeks away from the reopening of Ben DeForest’s Red Cat Kitchen on April 2. It’s been a long wait for the Brussels sprouts Ben’s nicknamed 9 X 9 kitchen is making famous. John and Rene Molinari open the Beetlebung Cafe on May 18 with new hours, features and food — updates as we get closer. The Loft is the talk of the town, check it out while there’s still room.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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