Dec. 15, 2003 – The yards have no snow and the houses have no chimneys, or so says a Caribbean Christmas song, but that didn't deter Santa from making a visit to St. John. Accompanied by a coterie of elves in red hats, he arrived Monday on a fire truck for the annual Governor's Children's Christmas Party.
Cruz Bay Park and the waterfront were decked to the nines with holiday decorations. White lights draped the palm trees lining the waterfront, the park bandstand was aglow in lights, and a tall Christmas tree stood in the center of the park.
More than 300 children, moms, dads and grandparents turned out for a program that included performances by the Love City Pan Dragons, the jump-rope group Love City Leapers, and the Police Department's Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Program band.
Santa handed out gifts to kids from just a few months old to age 10. All were donated by St. John businesses.
Nina Gross, holding her 2-month-old grandson, Noah Gessner, as she watched the program, said the party was "his first holiday celebration.".
Jackie Clendinen was sitting on a bench with her 3-month-old grandson, Matthew Costanzo, on her lap. "I'm getting him used to local sounds," she said as the Pan Dragons pinged out some Christmas favorites.
Otancia Hendricks, holding her grandson Kaleem Daniel on her shoulder, said he was celebrating his first Christmas, too. He's 4 months old. She said she came out because she likes to support the kids.
Ernest Matthias thought it was important to pass on the meaning of Christmas to his two children, Seala, 2 years old, and Sierra, 7 months. He said he wanted to tell them about when Christ was born, but he also sees the holiday as a nice time to give gifts.
Alas, when it was Seala's turn to sit on Santa's lap, she wasn't having any part of it. Santa gave her a gift, anyway.
While it was about kids and Christmas, it was also a chance for grownups to visit with old and new friends. Tourists took it all in, too.
Jim and Brenda Whitcomb from Brevard, North Carolina, happened to see the Pan Dragons setting up. After wandering on to see some of the town sights, they returned to hear the steelpan band, joining St. John residents galore in ushering in the holiday season.
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