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Last Night revelers ignored wet weather
Neither rain nor sleet put a damper on New Year's Eve and Day in Vineyard Haven, as Last Night, First Day festivities ushered 2005 out with a bang and 2006 in with a laugh.
2006 arrived in the persons of Genevieve Hammond, left, and Zada Clarke. Photo by Ralph Stewart
The Last Night, First Day activities kicked off with a showing of "Peter Pan," the original Disney animated version, at the Katharine Cornell Memorial Theatre at 11:30 am.
"We had a wonderful crowd, about 90 to 100 people, with more than half of them small children," said Richard Paradise, Silver Screen Film Society chairman, who coordinated the event. "The children were very well behaved this year. A few tried to get up on the stage, but generally, it went off very well."
Many moviegoers headed off for lunch afterwards with the Tisbury volunteer firefighters at the event's welcome center in the Baptist Church parish hall on Spring and Williams Streets, creating a temporary shortage of hot dogs.
Firefighters from the ladder company and engine one, 10 from each truck, took turns serving lunch and dinner from 1 to 8 pm, an event they started three years ago. They raised about $840, which will be split between the two trucks and will go toward buying spare uniforms, jackets, flowers for funerals and other miscellaneous expenses not covered by the town.
Marietta Taylor and her zany hat creation. Photo by Ralph Stewart
Russell Maciel, captain of the ladder truck, said that homemade chili from Glen DeBlase, the captain of engine one, "went over real good," as did the hot apple cider contributed by John Schilling, Tisbury's fire chief. However, Mr. Maciel warned, "The chief won't give out his recipe!"
Musical events provided a variety of styles for every taste and age. Performances by Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish and Maynard Silva and Friends "were packed," said Mr. Pratt. "The venue for Maynard's performance at MV Sail was fabulous, very homey and comfortable - a great place to listen to music."
Adding to folk music performances by Mark Lovewell and Tristan Israel at the Unitarian-Universalist Church was a surprise appearance by Willie Mason, a well-known Vineyard resident who has toured nationally and in Europe and Japan, Mr. Pratt said.
"We held an all-age rock concert after the fireworks at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, and had a big turnout," said Mr. Pratt. "It gives teens an alcohol-free place to go." He said he enjoyed the bands, Pink Socks and Sapphire Vagabond, and a third unnamed band that "just jammed," until his hearing gave out.
While the landlubbers listened to music, partygoers aboard the Tisbury Ambulance Fireworks Cruise on the New England Fast Ferry enjoyed a picnic buffet dinner, a Ben and Jerry's ice cream bar and music by the Stingrays.
Neither clouds nor rain dimmed this rocket's red glare, providing a dazzling goodbye to 2005. Photo by Susan Safford
As the rain grew heavier and turned to sleet, it became questionable whether the cruise would include the "fireworks" promised in its name. Much to everyone's delight, a spectacular display provided by C. R. Pyro fireworks company from Littleton lit up the sky at 9 pm as scheduled, with the cloud cover seeming to enhance more than diffuse the brilliant colors.
"Those fireworks guys are the hardest working, bravest, rugged crew that I know," Mr. Pratt said. "The reason they were able to shoot them off was that it was dry when they set up."
The crew started at noon and worked all afternoon in 34-degree weather, with rain and wet snow starting around 7 pm. Although a rain date was planned for the next night, shooting off the fireworks was a "game-time decision," Mr. Pratt said. "We had decided that if at all possible, we would shoot the fireworks off on New Year's Eve. That is when most people have made their plans. By New Year's night, they don't really want to go out."
The next day, however, many Islanders turned out to launch 2006 with a laugh, gathering at noon to create "crazy zany hats" at the Tisbury Ambulance facility, followed by a parade at 1 pm. "It was probably the largest crowd we have ever had," said Mr. Kristal.
Before seeing the estimated 100 people lined up for the parade in their colorful hats, Mr. Pratt said, "I could tell we had a huge turnout by the amount of glitter I saw in every corner of this building!"
The parade goers marched up Vineyard Haven's Main Street and down Union Street, stopping in front of the Steamship Authority terminal for an awards ceremony. Jacob Sachs won first place in the children's category, walking away with a five-pound solid bar of Hershey's chocolate and his choice of movie, Boston Museum of Science or New England Aquarium passes. Karen Caldwell won first prize in the adult category, an overnight stay in the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, including breakfast.