Saltaire

Saltaire Summery

By Hugh O’Brien

Well, that was quite a fireworks display on the 5th, wasn’t it? At any rate it extended the fun of the Music & Arts Festival to a new pastime next day, you know, kind of a treasure hunt, spotting and picking up pieces of burnt Grucci cardboard left over from the previous evening’s wind-driven, barge-borne bombardment of the village.

Mayor Zaccaro and I discussed the event’s missed ramifications Sunday, with John observing that burning down the village would have been a hell of a way to celebrate its centennial, and I agreed: clear the place out, pay everybody off, and presto! No more worries about gaga tents, Village Hall renovations, beach chairs, certainly not that new fire pumper. And at that the program was cut short, the boat’s deck awash in the choppy seas, which apparently shorted out some of the electronics needed to fire additional sparklers. Better luck next year, I guess.

The first rockets soar into the windy night sky at
the start of the annual fireworks display.
(Photo by Catherine O’Brien)

Looking further afield at an SCA event not actually occurring on the field, the annual running of the Jogathon will take place Sunday, Aug. 20. The starting pistol gets fired promptly at 9 a.m. with the 1-mile race, followed immediately by the three-and-a-half times longer 3.5-mile run. The 1-mile starts at the corner of Bay and Broadway, the 3.5 at the firehouse. Registration – which, thankfully, is not called “pre-registration,” i.e., you are not required to register before you register – will be held Saturday, Aug. 19, between 9 a.m. and noon at the Gazebo, which for some reason everyone in Saltaire always capitalizes. The fee is $20, for which as usual you’ll get this year’s T-shirt; kids can register for free, but if they want the shirt it’s, you guessed it, $20. (The SCA website doesn’t say what age separates the kids from the grown-ups, but either way that $20 bill is de rigueur.)

There are differing claims about whether the ‘thon began in 1978 or 1979, not aided by the fact that along the way the count was sometimes, if not lost, misplaced. (Remember we had first the “Tenth Annual” and a year later the “Second Tenth Annual” Jogathon because someone thought the ninth was the tenth? Quantum physics was never our forte.) Anyway, this year’s is officially deemed the 40th jog, but never mind – the athletes are what count, and this event always boasts some of the best on the island, of all ages.

Speaking of the field, even as these words mysteriously appear on my laptop, Ralph Perlberger’s annual Soccer Tournament is unfolding on ye olde Village green. Unfortunately we go to press prior to Sunday’s play-off, but the tourney’s turnout was great and the teams really into it. Results next issue, via the anticipated Ralphgram.

But, finally, the long-heralded and exhaustively executed Saltaire Centennial is almost upon us, coming Aug. 26. This is the only centennial we will ever have, so let’s get it right. Events include a historic history lecture by unofficial Village lore-keeper Jim O’Hare at the Yacht Club at 10 a.m. After that there’ll be a re-creation of the old-fashioned village pie-eating contests, with the added 21st century wrinkle of having an ambulance standing by for the participants.

At 3 p.m. there’s the entombment of the Time Capsule, not to be opened until 2050, although, before you say “Ooooo – 2050!” remember that that’s only 33 years off. Admittedly some of us won’t quite make the crawl to that foreseeable future, and besides, we long since forgot where we put that other time capsule we buried 33 years ago, back in 1984, but it’ll be nice for today’s 20-somethings to be able, at age 57, to get back the ferry schedules and Yacht Club menus and pieces of Gucci fireworks they donated for posterity lo those many years before.

The event will take place on the Market deck, with the provision of refreshments insuring the usual stampede once the word “free” is highlighted. Lastly, the big finale starts at 7 p.m., the concert on the field by Tom Campo and Rich Mahogany, the island’s favorite group, sold out wherever they play. More refreshments (yes, that kind), fantastic music, a thousand happy people all milling around within the confines of a fenced-in area with limited access normally used for softball games and helicopter landings, with admittance to residents and their guests only, so nothing can possibly go wrong, at least until the freebies run out.

Folks have asked, but Aug. 26 doesn’t actually have any significance to our hundredth in itself; it’s just a convenient date near the end of the season on which to mark the occasion. Keep an eye out for the full schedule. Enjoy!

Squeezing in a few future happenings, the Fire Company holds the second and farewell Pancake Breakfast Sunday, Sept. 3, from 8 a.m. to somewhere around 11 a.m. Free admission, except for whatever we can guilt our patrons into forking over before we fork over the pancakes and sausage. Mark your calendars and stow your colanders for this culinary community flapjack fest.

And the parking lot bunny is back! Evidently unheeding of John Updike’s titular cautionary admonition, this rabbit has run straight back to his old haunts, the same big guy who darted amidst the main terminal’s cars last summer. Seems he’s returned, happily nibbling away at Tim Mooney’s bread-and-butter while customers keep him around on the flimsy excuse that he’s holding their spaces open for them. Hard on the paws of this discovery came the sad news of the passing of Haruo Nakajima, the actor who portrayed the original Godzilla (Gojira, on his native stomping grounds) back in 1954. But now, his parking-lot successor – Harezilla!

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