By Carol Vaughn —
The Gathering of the Island Gnomes has begun at the Museum of Chincoteague Island.
It is the second year for the event, which museum volunteers started in 2020 as a way to celebrate the holidays safely, in an outdoor setting, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The museum is at 7125 Maddox Blvd. on Chincoteague.
Gnomes from last year’s display were installed in the courtyard outside the museum on Nov. 22 and new ones are still being added. The display will stay up throughout December.
People are encouraged to make their own gnome to add to the gathering, according to museum board member Donna Leonard.
“People who make a gnome can bring it to the museum, fill out a simple registration form and either come back to retrieve it or donate it to be brought back in the years to come. Gnomes need to be able to survive outside with no shelter. Last year they survived some wicked weather,” Leonard said.
Gnomes must be handmade and use of recycled materials is encouraged.
Gnomes may be named to honor or in memory of a loved one or a beloved Chincoteague figure.
Many of the gnomes represent well-known Chincoteague characters.
Returning to the gathering this year are Miss Diane’s Nursery School, Ole’ Man Tom Reed, Captain Barry, Ismarelda, Chincoteague Island Community Cats, the Chincoteague Police Department, Team Brianna, the Garden Lady, Ruby Lee Daisey, Jane Smiley the Hippie Biker Chick, and Jamaican John.
New gnomes joining the gathering this year include Gumboot the Wayward Pony, Bird Lovers, Delmas Mears, and Chick Reed, according to Leonard.
“I sure hope there will be some new surprises. There is no deadline for bringing gnomes,” she said.
The gnome gathering is in addition to the museum’s Christmas Tree Village display, which kicked off Dec. 2.
Christmas trees are decorated and donated by Chincoteague businesses and families.
The Christmas Tree Village will be in the museum’s Legacy Pavilion and can be viewed on the evenings of Dec 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17. All dates are Thursday and Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
There will also be holiday music, special handcrafted ornaments to purchase, and an online auction.
There is no admission to visit the museum or the Christmas Tree Village on the nights of the event.
The winning entry for best decorated tree will be selected by popular vote. Votes are $1 each or 25 for $20. The winner will be announced Dec. 18.
The 2019 winner was Don’s Seafood.
There also will be a silent auction of decorated trees that have been donated to the museum.
Additionally, the museum will hold a weeklong, on-line winter auction on its Better Unite Site, www.betterunite.com/MuseumofChincoteagueIsland
The auction, which will run from Dec. 9 through 16, features art, keepsakes, and travel packages, including gift certificates for accommodations, restaurants, boat tours, bike rentals, and more.
The museum’s phone number is 757-336-6117 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org