Despite the frigid temperatures, much of the Oak Bluffs community gathered on Wednesday, Nov. 28, for the annual Christmas tree lighting in Post Office Square. Board of Selectman Chairman Kerry Scott had the honor of lighting the tree, after carolers sang and the Vineyard Brass Ensemble, wearing Santa hats, performed a medley of holiday songs.
After the lighting, most folks crossed the street to go to the Game Room for a visit with Santa and refreshments, including homemade baked goods. The one thing people are asked to bring are donations to the Island Food Pantry.
Many town departments and businesses sponsored the event, including the P.T.O., the Oak Bluffs Association, Friends of Oak Bluffs, the Highway and Park Department, and Jardin Mahoney's Garden Center, among others.
Renee Balter, vice president of the Oak Bluffs Association, was very pleased with the turnout, the donations, and the atmosphere at the lighting.
"It was extremely well attended, and we did get, I think, quite a bit of food," said Ms. Balter. "I put out six tall laundry baskets and they took all six away, so I'm assuming they were all full with food for the food pantry."
"It's really a scream," Ms. Balter continued, speaking about the reception following in the Game Room. "The Sting Rays are playing carols, and they see the red light coming from the fire truck, they start to play 'Here Comes Santa Claus.' The kids just go absolutely crazy."
To quiet them down, the children were reminded that Santa was visiting to pick up the donated food to take to the Food Pantry - an example of one of the most important lessons: it's better to give than to receive.