September 26, 2023
Annapolis, US 61 F

Pilots To Airlift Holiday Spirit To Island Residents

santa1On December 7, 2013, as they have been for over forty 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 the 1960s 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 reigns upon his father’s passing growing the event to nearly three dozen pilots and planes carrying holly to the island. In recent years, Santa has joined the pilots to spread Christmas cheer.

Tragically, shortly after last year’s Holly Run, Jim Shultz (aka Santa), passed away. “Jim was a major part of this event and we will all greatly miss him,” explained Holly Run organizer Helen Woods. “He would want us to carry on with the tradition and we will.”

Chesapeake Sport Pilot flight school ( will sponsor the run for the fourth year in a row out of its 6,000 square foot facility at the Bay Bridge Airport, in Stevensville, Maryland where they plan to serve breakfast to the pilots before the flight. The Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association is also planning to participate flying the association’s large Cessna Caravan which will serve as a VIP and press plane as well as Santa’s sleigh.

Tangier’s mayor and Methodist pastor are also 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 Loraine’s Sandwich Shop on the island.

According to Chesapeake Sport Pilot Chief Flight Instructor Helen Woods, “We are delighted to be able to host the Holly Run again this year. Promoting the joy and fun of aviation is what Chesapeake Sport Pilot is all about.”

Ed Nabb Jr. and a new Santa Claus (Richard Lindstrom) will be flying with the group on the AOPA Caravan.

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