The Island is beginning to see more and more familiar faces which is good for the economy but not nearly at the numbers of previous August summers.

Ed and Sherri Gray have opened up their cottage on Beach Road. Dee Dee and Dallas Lea also from Washington, D.C. have taken up residence on East Chop Drive. Steven Johnson and Toni Faye, president of the Island Inn homeowners association, are back on Island as are their neighbors Darryl and Lisa Settles from Boston.

Waldo and Rita Falkener have arrived from New York and Jim Castleberry drove with his family from Chicago and are also glad to be in Oak Bluffs. Bettye Crutcher and husband Ron are also on Island. Ron is the president of the University of Richmond and is working hard virtually with his senior staff to prepare for the fall semester.

Another barometer on our summer count can be taken from the Steamship, Island Queen and Patriot boat arrivals. Last Friday, I stood out to count the number of people arriving on the 8 p.m. boat coming from Falmouth to get a headcount as passengers alighted. I counted 35 people on a trip that usually would carry substantially more people this time in August.

What each of us can do to help with the local economy is to support as many businesses as possible. There are arts districts, farmer’s markets, fixed retail stores all open for business. Last Sunday, I strolled through Washington Park on New York avenue that hosts about 20 pop-up businesses on Sunday mornings. Fresh flowers, ladies’ clothing, face masks with Island themes and more are worth visiting.

I especially liked the beach art created by Amy Benford. She uncovers beach wood, shells and other trinkets on our beaches that become the subjects of very special art. I also met Alone Wolff who does beautiful paintings for sale. She extends the visual impact of her paintings by making photographs and cards in the images of each painting. Come on out and support these enterprising entrepreneurs.

Some events have continued to carry on in spirit in spite of the virus environment. One, in particular, is the very popular Party with a Purpose given every Labor Day by Carolyn Hebsgaard, Stephanie Brown and Cheryl Grimes at the P.A. Club. In recent years each person attending the party, usually featuring a dynamite D.J., is encouraged to pay a 20 dollar entry fee all going to local charities. In prior years they have given to the Island Food Pantry, the Cottagers Building Fund and to the P.A. Club to support their community services work.

True to their purpose, these three social entrepreneurs have distributed their 2019 proceeds to the P.A. Club and the Island Food Pantry. While the virus will cancel this Labor Day’s festivities, the planning for 2021 is well underway.

Jennifer Gelhaus, tennis director at the East Chop Tennis Club, has shared the results of the singles tournament recently concluded. The tennis activity has been conducted with safety guidelines and included 21 participants. The women’s champion is Caroline Fredey, Grace Simpkins was the finalist and Erin Leigh was the consolation champ. The men’s champ was Max Potter, Nick Hyzak was the men’s finalist and Lukas Selassie secured the consolation champ recognition. Congrats to all that competed and best of luck to those competing in the doubles tournament this weekend.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting.