Ahh. Summer in the Cranberry Isles. We have no RVs, no bridge to the mainland, only minor parking problems, and no cruise ships in the harbor. Sounds quiet, doesn’t it?

Folks on Great Cranberry Island got together for a live auction on July 10 to raise over $9,000 for their library. Donations were almost all from islanders and the auctioneers were residents. A large crowd enjoyed a fantastic assortment of dishes at the potluck supper given by the Cranberry Island Volunteer Fire Department on July 14. After dinner, the group listened and danced to the music of the First Street Blues, a band from Orland. $2000 was raised for the fire department that night.

Almost a year of planning went into the second annual exhibit and auction to benefit the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society. That fundraiser took place on July 20 in the town of Northeast Harbor and it included a fashion show along with a silent auction and live auction. The event raised more than $16,000, with many of the items donated by island artists and artisans. On July 28 an appreciative group of children and adults were at the Great Cranberry Library to hear Joan Zimmermann tell stories, and to learn to make Native American “dream catchers.” On the hottest day of the summer, Aug. 3, people cooled off in boats on the way to the 106th annual Ladies Aid Fair. There was a variety of hand made quilts, raffle items, homemade baked goods, handmade crafts and fish chowder made by some of the best cooks in town. In spite of the heat, the crowds were large and enthusiastic and more than $7,000 was raised. On Aug. 4, Great Cranberry artist Larry Allen had an opening at the Shaw Gallery in Northeast Harbor. Following the reception, friends and family returned by boat to the island to enjoy a great dinner at the Community Center. There was a tea party for children at the GCIHS museum on Aug. 5, in celebration of Hitty Preble, the doll made famous by author Rachel Field. On Aug. 7, a large group of singers and musicians gathered at the Community Center just for the fun of a night of music. The island church was the venue for an Evening of Music and Poetry on Aug. 9 to benefit the Great Cranberry Library; with donations totaling $1,100. Sunday softball games, pitting one island against the other, have been taking place all summer long. On Great Cranberry there was also the annual Wimbleberry Tennis Championship in August.

Islesford, Little Cranberry, has been just as active as the big island. The July 13 annual meeting of the Islesford Historical Society featured Ralph Stanley giving a talk about shipwrecks of the past. At the Masquerade Ball on July 15, there was standing room only. Music and dancing followed the excitement of the parade of costumes. On July 16, Christy Spurling presented a show of her work entitled “Faces of the World” at the Islesford Dock Restaurant. Also on the 16th, Bill McGuinness exhibited his talent for capturing specifically rare moments of everyday island life with the opening of his home gallery, Island Lights. The “painting ladies” from the south were seen around the island during their 20th annual visit for “plein-air” painting. Dick Atlee and Sarah Corson organized the annual Maypole Dance on July 17 in the town field. There were talented musicians and plenty of volunteers to weave the intricate ribbon patterns around the maypole.

Months of planning went in the Garden and Lawn party, on July 27, at the Islesford Neighborhood House. The occasion was delightfully well attended, raising over $5,000 toward the purchase of French doors to lead from the Neighborhood House into Julie’s Garden. On July 29 there was a dance at the Neighborhood House to celebrate all of those who had decade birthdays this year.

On Aug. 4, a variety of activities made the third annual Islesford Fair a huge success. A very popular area was the dunk tank, where our three Cranberry Isles Selectmen each took a turn, among others, to sit on a platform waiting to be knocked in the water with the accurate aim of a ball. Many pitched in to help organize the fair, bake, donate goods, and give to the silent auction and raffles, helping to raise more than $10,000 for numerous nonprofit community causes. $6,000 will help fund a new tanker truck for the fire department. Also on Aug. 4, a two-on-two basketball tournament in the school yard raised some money to fix the hoops and nets. An all-Islesford crew raced with Bob Johnstone to win the inaugural J/100 Downeast Championship sailboat races on Aug. 5-7. On Aug. 6 a group from the three Catholic Churches on Mt. Desert Island sailed across to Islesford for a pot luck luncheon and Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea Chapel. Christy Spurling gave a piano recital of music by Chopin and Debussy at the Congregational Church on Aug. 7.

Aug. 12 was the date for the annual Wits and Nitwits variety show at the Islesford Neighborhood House. Joan Valdina, who has facilitated so many past children’s performances, regretfully stepped aside this year. She was still able to present her “animal farm” when she asked for anyone who had been in one of her plays to join her on stage. The audience gave continuous applause as more than 30 people ranging in age from 4 to 29 joined her and thanked her. The rest of the show was equally entertaining on a variety of levels. On Aug. 13, at the Islesford Dock, an exhibit and silent auction of “Rabbits, Bunnies and Hares” was organized by Marian Baker and Kaitlyn Miller, to benefit the fire truck fund. Many islanders who are not potters made rabbits for the silent auction. Starr Bright organized a carrot cake sale to coincide with the event, raising $1,000 from the cakes alone. An additional $3,500 came in from the silent auction of 93 items.

These are some of the many events that take place on our islands in the summer. In one month, over $54,000 was raised to benefit island organizations. Along with the rest of our summer routines; dinner parties, trips to the beach, house guests, visits with families and friends, and (for those of us not on vacation) our jobs; we have all been extremely busy. The hectic pace of life in August is predictable; but at 4 p.m. on Labor Day the island suddenly becomes a little too quiet.

Islesford, Aug. 16, 2006