Tisbury Business Association remains active with holiday events

Rainy Day on Main Street is decorated for the holidays. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Vineyard Haven is celebrating the “Twelve Days of Tisbury” from December 12 to 23, organized for the Tisbury Business Association (TBA) by member Jane Chandler. Details about the events appear in The Times calendar section.

This year was almost the Christmas that wasn’t in Vineyard Haven. For the past several years, the TBA hosted holiday activities downtown. With the resignation of TBA president Dawn Braasch in October, an inactive board, and no volunteer to take on the annual event, it appeared the tradition might come to an end.

However, Ms. Chandler, who owns the Beach House on Main Street, stepped up to the plate to make sure that it didn’t. “I haven’t been as involved in the TBA over the years because of my store and with children at home, but now that they’re in high school and college, I just felt like it was a good time for me to help out,” she said, adding that other TBA members have pitched in to help her.

Ms. Chandler organized fun-filled activities over 12 days, which include familiar ones such as hayrides around Vineyard Haven, a tradition for 25 years, a holiday cash raffle, a free family movie night at the Capawock Theater, and Friends and Family Nights at shops on State Road, Main Street, and the Tisbury Marketplace.

Ms. Chandler also talked Santa Claus into making a visit to Vineyard Haven on Sunday, December 16. He will arrive by boat at 2 pm and walk to the Black Dog Tavern, which is hosting his visits with children, complete with cookies and hot chocolate.

A store window contest is new this year, and all businesses, not just TBA members, were invited to enter, Ms. Chandler said. The judges, two seniors from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School with an interest in art, will pick the contest winner today. Shirt Tales at 59 Main Street donated the use of its store windows for the display of drawings and writings by Tisbury School and various preschools’ students on the subject of favorite things for which they are thankful.

The TBA also has added a community-service element to its holiday activities this year. To start, the organization made a $500 donation in support of the Vineyard Committee on Hunger’s family-to-family program to provide holiday meals to needy Island families.

In addition, Ms. Chandler suggested that businesses consider holding their own raffles in-house for chances to win gift baskets or gift certificates. Drawings will be held in individual stores on December 23, and the proceeds will be donated to the family-to-family program.

Ms. Chandler said she hopes it will inspire an Island-wide effort in the future. “If we get 15 to 20 stores to do it this year, and if we got the whole Island to participate later down the road, the family-to-family holiday meal program could be funded with one event,” she said.

The TBA also plans to present its first student award for exemplary community service to a Tisbury School eighth-grader at a ceremony at the school on December 18. The student, whose name will be revealed at that time, will receive a $100 check to put towards his or her favorite cause.

In addition to keeping the TBA’s holiday activities going, Ms. Chandler’s efforts have given the organization a temporary reprieve from its possible dissolution. When Ms. Braasch announced her resignation as president in October, she attributed her decision to resign to the demands of the volunteer position, combined with a dwindling number of board members and a lack of participation by members overall. She warned that unless someone came forward to assume her office by November 30, there was really no point in continuing the association and she would start the formal process to dissolve it.

“No one has come forward, but since Jane Chandler agreed to do the Christmas festivities, I agreed not to do anything until the first of the year,” Ms. Braasch wrote in an email in response to one from The Times requesting an update last week.