The news from Vinalhaven

By Susan Raven | Dec 10, 2012
Flying Santa visits Vinalhaven by helicopter.

This past week’s events put many folks in the holiday frame of mind in true island fashion. This was especially true as more than 100 people waited with anticipation and scanned the skies for Flying Santa. As the sound of the chopper blades thrummed from beyond the trees, kids stopped playing and pointed at the helicopter as it came into view. After circling overhead, it slowly descended onto the soccer field as kids covered their ears and glued their eyes to the door of the helicopter for their first glimpse of Santa. It was teeth-chattering cold and there were lazy snowflakes coming down which added to the magic. I even heard some small gasps and “It’s him!” coming from the crowd as Santa ducked low and came out towards the crowd. Swarmed by kids, Santa handed out candy bags and posed for photos. Much of the crowd headed home promptly to warm up, but a few families stayed to get a close look at Santa’s unusual mode of transportation and have a group photo in front of his island-style sleigh. Add to this the holiday house creating event, the community sing-a-long at the Union Church, and a balsam fir centerpiece workshop, and folks can’t help but be in the spirit.

School events

At school, teachers are working hard to pack the days full of learning while many kids are counting the days until Christmas break. The elementary school is working on its monthly assembly, which will be Friday, Dec. 14 at at 9 a.m. The public is always welcome to attend these events where you can see each grade contribute to the final product. The basketball season is now under way and a pep rally capped of a spirit week that saw children and adults alike dressed up in pajamas, Wild West outfits, twin ensembles, and decades get-ups. I thoroughly enjoyed watching a classroom of kindergarteners doing their math while dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls.

Business around town

Store-wise, some days seem bustling downtown, and others seem too quiet for the good of the merchants, but that’s likely dependent on people’s busy schedules and the graces of the weather. Thinking past this season, the Island Institute will be hosting an informational meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Gathering Place to discuss possible host sites for future Island Fellows. It’s worth thinking about the needs of Vinalhaven and how the Island Fellows Program might be able to help. We have been fortunate to have a number of fellows in the past who have contributed greatly to our quality of life here on Vinalhaven. For more information or to share ideas, contact Chris Wolff,

Also downtown, there will be a bake sale to benefit Childhood Hemiplegia and Stroke Association. You can find out more about the organization at and can donate directly at that website as well. There are children here on Vinalhaven who have suffered from stroke and brain injury at birth and CHASA helps thousands of children and their families like the ones here that have been affected by infant and childhood stroke. The bake sale here will take place on Sunday, Dec. 23 at 9 a.m. at the Vinalhaven Fuel Office. To donate goodies or find out more, contact Elaine at 863-4971.

What folks are talking about

As always there is a lot to talk about, and the post office make-over is certainly one of those topics. One day this week the entire glassed in front of the post office was removed, and now has been replaced by a much nicer opening. The lower table in the lobby, and lowered section of the counter in the retail area have been completed as well.

With a little over a week left till Christmas, it would seem that it’s the only holiday that’s celebrated, and it is surely the majority tradition in these parts. That said it is fun and broadening to one’s world view to read up on Hanukkah, Kwanza and other celebrations of the season. There are wonderful books in both of our libraries here on the island, so surely there are some near you as well if you don’t have the privilege to be doing your holiday island-style. Whatever your style, enjoy yourselves and thanks for thinking of others.

If you have news to share that you’d like to see in this column, please drop me a line at or leave a message at 863-4134.

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