Pilots to airlift boughs of holly, Santa to Tangier Island residents

Santa after his flight greets youngsters from a golf cart. He will be back on Tangier Island on Dec. 5 (rain date Dec. 12). (2014 photo by Karen Helfert)

Santa after his flight greets youngsters from a golf cart. He will be back on Tangier Island on Dec. 5 (rain date Dec. 12). (2014 photo by Karen Helfert)

STEVENSVILLE, Md. — On Saturday, December 5, 2015, as they have been for nearly 50 years, pilots from the Chesapeake Bay area will bring Christmas cheer to the approximately 700 isolated residents of Tangier Island, Virginia.

 

Eastern shore pilot Ed Nabb, Sr. started delivering holiday greens (holly) to the island in 1967 when he realized that the rising sea level had eroded Tangier Island to the point that it no longer supported the growth of holly or other traditional Christmas evergreens. His son, Ed Nabb Jr., took the reins upon his father’s passing, growing the event to nearly three dozen pilots and planes carrying holly to the island.

 

In recent years, the event has grown to more than 50 aircraft and Santa Claus has joined the pilots to spread Christmas cheer. This year the pilots are bringing school supplies for the students and teachers at the Tangier Combined School. “Teachers on the island can’t just run out to Walmart like we can,” explained Chesapeake Sport Pilot Chief Flight Instructor and Holly Run coordinator Helen Woods. “Things that every teacher needs this time of year like Kleenex and Germ-X can be in short supply. We’ll be loading our planes with these and other items the school needs in addition to bags of holly.”

 

Chesapeake Sport Pilot flight school (www.chesapeakesportpilot.com) is the main organizer for the sixth year running. In addition, CSP has joined this year with AutoGyro USA, Vans Aircraft, and the Chesapeake Sport Pilot Flying Club in serving breakfast to the pilots before the flight at the Bay Bridge Airport, in Stevensville. “We are delighted to be able to host the Holly Run again this year,” said Woods. “Promoting the joy and fun of aviation is what Chesapeake Sport Pilot is all about.”

 

Tangier’s mayor and Methodist pastor are planning a special combined Tangier history lesson and Christmas service for the pilots to be held in Tangier’s beautiful and historic Methodist church. Lunch will later be served at Lorraine’s Sandwich Shop on the island. Ed Nabb Jr. and Santa and Mrs. Claus (Ralph and Laura Hoover) will be flying with the group.

 

A rain/snow date of December 12th has been set. For more information visit www.tangierhollyrun.com.

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