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Outgoing Governor Prepares to Gift Wrap Final Christmas Parties

Nov. 27, 2006 — With less than a month to go till Christmas, outgoing Gov. Charles Turnbull is getting ready for his final round of children's Christmas parties.
The parties kick off from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8 on St. Thomas and St. Croix, and 5:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 18 on St. John.
The St. Croix party will take place on the grounds of the Rudolph Schulterbrandt Agriculture Complex, with food and drink available. Children ages four to 10 will receive gifts.
On St. Thomas, the party is planned for Emancipation Garden. Games and other activities are planned. Children ages three to 10 will get gifts.
The St. John party will happen in Cruz Bay Park. Children up to age 11 will receive gifts. The Love City Pan Dragons will play, with food and drinks served.
The Governor's Christmas Party tradition probably started during the tenure of the late Gov. Melvin Evans, said Government House Aide James O'Bryan Jr. Evans served as federally appointed governor from 1969 to 1971, and as the territory's first elected governor from 1971 to 1975.
The federally appointed governors who came before Evans may have had some parties, however, O'Bryan believes.
Even before the Christmas party tradition took hold, the 50-year-old O'Bryan recalls, Leon Hess gave every school child in the Virgin Islands a toy Hess fuel truck for Christmas. Hess owned the Hess refinery, now Hovensa, on St. Croix.
"I remember the green and white," O'Bryan said, referring to the Hess colors.
People on each island organize the Christmas parties separately, O'Bryan said, explaining the discrepancies in times and gift ages.
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