Chilmark is looking very festive both day and night. A ride around town after dark is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. The U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha has their observation tower lit up and looking cheerful.

A fellow Chilmarker and I enjoyed observing an early season visit from Santa to the Coast Guard station last week. We just happened to be in the area when a spiffy small helicopter landed on the station lawn. Out popped Santa looking cheery and authentic. He was quickly surrounded by the personnel and their families for a brief visit and gift distribution . . . then as quickly as he came, he left! Off went the helicopter, headed no doubt to another coastal Coast Guard station. We were the only onlookers and were thrilled to be in on the excitement.

Chilmark’s Santa will arrive, as he traditionally does, in a fire truck on Dec. 20 at the Chilmark Community Center. The fun begins at 5:45 p.m. If you are new to town and have children between newborn and 5th grade, please tell Santa’s elf, Katie Carroll. She is at

Happy birthday to Barbara Secor, who many will remember from awhile back when she and her late husband, Bill, made their seasonal home at Abel’s Hill. Barbara now lives in Vero Beach and celebrated her 98th birthday in late November. Some of the family still come to Chilmark and have sent word of some new family members. Barbara and Bill’s daughter, Betsey Delaney, welcomed her first two grandchildren within five days of each other in August. Betsey’s younger daughter, Elizabeth Robinson, gave birth to Harriet Fielding Robinson on August 11. Elizabeth and husband, John, live in Charlottesville, Va. John William Lenkner was born to Erin Delaney and Travis Lenkner on August 16. They live in Chicago. The families enjoyed a Thanksgiving reunion in Vero Beach with grandmother and great-grandmother, Barbara. Cheers from us all!

Thomas Bena sends word that his documentary, One Big Home, won the Audience Award at the film festival in Sag Harbor earlier this month. He is on to Maine for more screenings.

Congratulations to Brooks Carroll, who was chosen by the West Tisbury School staff to be the 2017 Ambassador for Project 351. It is a youth service organization dedicated to building unity and leadership. An eighth grade student from each of the 351 towns in Massachusetts has been chosen for showing an “exemplary ethic of service with values of kindness, compassion, humility and gratitude.” The students will meet in Boston on Jan. 14 at Faneuil Hall and meet with Governor Baker for a Launch and Service Day. The day is held in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and is filled with team-based service at nonprofit organizations throughout Boston. The day ends with a celebration at the Kennedy Library. We look forward to supporting Brooks in his service efforts throughout his yearlong ambassadorship. Congratulations from us all!

If you are eager to get going on the new year you might want to mark your calendar for the next musical pot luck evening at the Chilmark Community Center. It will be on Jan. 7 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Remember to bring your musical instrument and be ready to join in.

Jan. 1 marks the beginning of the Island Winter Shelter Program. Three churches will offer overnight accommodations to all who may need such and two meals, dinner and breakfast, will be included. This is for those who need warm shelter, should they not have heat at home or have no shelter. Monday and Thursday nights the Federated Church in Edgartown will be open, on Wednesday nights St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven will be open, and on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown will be open.

My wish for you all is that you get out there and enjoy some of the good cheer going around.

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