Today marks the beginning of summer vacation for our local school children. Lunch boxes and book bags will collect dust in the hall closet. Sneakers will get traded in for flip-flops and pants for bathing suits. Summer camp, fishing, boating, swimming, crabbing, roasting marshmallows, and catching fireflies will take the place of walking the hallways, stuffing the cubbies and lockers, and sitting still in a classroom for what seemed like hours on end. Carefree summer days — here come your kids.

Haying is another Vineyard summer rite of passage. If you noticed, the Keith field is freshly cut and bailed. Thanks to the handy work of folks like Bart Thorpe, Jim Thorpe, Fran Flanders, Tom Ruimerman, Jim Welch, Beth, Mariah and Jessica Campbell, Julie Flanders, Bella Thorpe, Bradley and Brooks Carroll, Bob and Irene Hungerford, Kathy Bega, Sarah, Bobby and Jack Nixon, Luciano de Silva Braga and maybe a few others. The work went rather quickly and quite smoothly.

Yes, the Nixon family has arrived at their Menemsha home for the summer. Bobby has just celebrated his 14th birthday. Miss Maggie is very pleased to have Zebulon the alpaca at their barn. Jack just celebrated his ninth birthday, got braces, and is greatly looking forward to summertime buddy Quinn Keefe’s arrival.

Howard Harrison celebrated his 80th birthday at his Menemsha home surrounded by family including his daughter Becky (Harrison) Parker, her husband, David, and their four girls — Sophie, Isabel, Meagan, and Phoebe — who ventured south from Carlisle and managed to squeeze in a quick stroll down Dutcher Dock among all the birthday festivities. My daughter, Bradley, is looking forward to Sophie’s return in July when they will actually have time to hang out.

The Chilmark Church held its annual Children’s Fair last weekend. Volunteers included Julie Flanders, Irene Hungerford, Fran Flanders, Jules Worthington, Kim Cottrill, Linda Coutinho, Billie Hancock, Kathie Carroll, Bradley Carroll, and Pam Goff. I had a lovely chat with Hope Grady, sister-in-law to the famous MaryBeth of Chilmark Chocolates. Hope was visiting with her four kids from Pennsylvania. Finnegan and Linden Macleod, Emily Boyd, Oona Carroll, Tyler Shipway and many more had a wonderful morning playing games, riding ponies, and eating cupcakes.

The Martha’s Vineyard United Boys U-13 soccer team had an 8-0 season. The boys won their league championship game on Saturday against Barnstable and are headed to the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC). MTOC will be held this coming weekend in Lancaster. The team consists of players from around the Vineyard, including four from Chilmark: Alex Gordon-Beck, Ben Poole, and Andrew and Peter Ruimerman. The MV United Girls U-14 soccer team had a 7-0-1 season (seven wins, one tie). In a league championship game on Saturday in Fairhaven, they lost in overtime and despite their valiant effort. This team also consists of players from around the Vineyard, including Sadie Dix, and Mariah and Jessica Campbell from Chilmark.

At 10:30, Tuesday, June 29, Melissa Green will be at the Chilmark Library for a read, sing, and dance along. The event marks the kickoff for the 2010 Summer Reading Program “Go Green at your Library.” While geared for children, the program is open to people of all ages. On Wednesday, June 30, at 5:30, Lawrence Harrison will speak about his upcoming book, “Jews, Confucians, and Protestants: Cultural Capital, and the End of Multiculturalism.” He is the director of the Cultural Change Institute at Tufts University and author and editor of seven books focused on the role of cultural values in human progress. Both events are sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library.

The YardArts! Festival is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a noteworthy lineup of participants including Amy Brenneman, Monina von Opel, Francesca Kelly, Claudia Weill, and Kay Matschullat. The folks at the Yard would like you to consider purchasing a patron season pass, which allows you to attend every YardArts! performance including shows, benefit events, dinners, private shows, and rehearsals. Inquire on their website or by phone at 508-645-9962.

Congratulations to Tyler Andresen, son of Sarah and Spider, who married his sweetheart Gina Risio in a beachside ceremony this past weekend. Also, Kathie and Emmett Carroll celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary.

Birthday wishes go out to Cybele Benton Sprague, Kathie Carroll, Kari Cioffi, and Becky Conroy; Lizzie Willette turns a milestone 21.

Sunday Softball is the biggest news of all. Julie Flanders will toss out the first ball at Flanders Field this Sunday at 8:30 am. Dedicated to the best ball player in Chilmark history, David Flanders, Flanders Field is located on Pasture Road off Tabor House. Everyone is invited and everyone plays. Howard Wall will be in attendance and ready to belt out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his bagpipe. Just follow the sound of the raucous voices and join in the fun.