With the 13th Nantucket Film Festival just having wrapped and the Wachovia Equity Conference in full swing filling at least a couple island hotels and hopefully the coffers of more than a few Nantucket businesses, it’s abundantly clear that summer is just around the corner, if not already here. The streets are busier, the beaches filling up, and some of the morning NRTA shuttle buses standing-room-only heading into town.
For many Nantucketers, the fact that Wachovia’s in town means only one thing. The brokerage giant keeps a relatively low profile during its annual island visit each June, save one night: Wednesday, when its fireworks display rivals even the town’s pyrotechnics on the Fourth of July. It’s a sight to see from Jetties Beach, and has become just as much an early summer tradition as the Independence Day water fight on Main Street. For those who miss the display, the town’s Visitor Services agency puts on a fireworks show of its own, launched from a barge off the beach, that caps off a day of festivities on Main Street and Jetties Beach July 4. With the Fourth falling on a Friday this year, there’s sure to be even larger crowds than normal flocking to town.
With the days getting warmer, the gallery scene is heating up as well. Just about every Friday and/or Saturday night, you can catch an island artist’s opening at one of the dozens of galleries sprinkled throughout the downtown district or spread out across the island. Whatever your taste, from abstract to realist, you’re likely to find it in the island’s vibrant art scene.
On a sadder note, the island mourned the passing of newsman Tim Russert last week. Tim was a true gentleman, humble and down to earth, and his presence will be missed not just in the halls of power but on the side streets of Nantucket, which he, his wife Maureen Orth and their son Luke came to call their second home over the past decade or so. It would be embarrassingly presumptuous of me to call him a friend, but that’s the way he made me feel on the handful of occasions we bumped into each other on the island, whether it was at a lecture, a Boys & Girls Club fundraiser, or the day he popped into the office after the 2000 election to talk politics with a room full of young journalists. It’s a day I for one won’t forget. Tim, we’ll miss you.
– Joshua Balling, I&M Managing Editor