One of our occasional contributors who tracks money, politics, sports, pop culture, Lowelliana, and his own dreamlife (a la Jean-Louis K.) is on special assignment for rh.com while the First Family tries to get a moment of tranquility on “the Island.” Our man on the scene Ray LaPorte from Pawtucketville Nation will file regular posts from the Vineyard that will no doubt rival breathless reports of celebrities on Entertainment Tonight.
This is finale week here on the Vineyard, when in one week we annually pack 10 pounds in a five pound wet paper doggie bag. It is the week when Islanders are the only people wishing not to be here.
It began with Monday’s torrent that would have had Noah packing his sea bags, followed Tuesday by low swooping military helicopters, transports and black SUV’s coming and going all day. Thus, then began the false rumor swirl that the First Lady and the kids slipped ashore under the radar ahead of schedule. The resulting noon traffic gridlock in front of my office on Main Street Vineyard Haven was the best I have witnessed in 17 years. It looked and sounded like mid-town Manhattan with the “212’s” (our description of New Yuckers)competing with each other for some elusive advantage.
Wednesday was the annual Illumination Night festivities at the Methodist Campground in Oak Bluffs, a 175-year tradition of song and candle-lighting attended by 10,000+ aimless strollers with green night stix, flashing cameras, and dripping ice cream.
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Old County Fair held “up island” (not to be confused with the fictional “Upis Land” here) at the county fairgrounds. Fried everything, skillet-throwing contests (women only), rigged carnie games, and upchucking kids are some of the highlights. Friday brings the Oak Bluffs Fireworks, touted by its sponsors, the OB fire department (yup, firefighters), as the best in New England. This event is so over-the-top that the reverse 911 robo-calling system was triggered, as it is considered by the aforementioned sponsors and their emergency responder colleagues as an “emergency”. Doh!
Word now comes that the most famous person in the world, with entourage, will be here for ten days. I have my Blackberry at the ready to take Lady GaGa’s picture when she comes to town to shop for a new bathing suit. Somebody else is arriving later today, but I can’t remember who that might be.
—Yours on location, Paparazzi Ray