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Christmas Tradition Alive and Well in Coral Bay

Dec. 20, 2006 – With the lights flashing and the siren blowing, a fire truck from the Coral Bay fire station delivered Santa on Wednesday to the community's annual Christmas party at the Coral Bay basketball court.
It was a night filled with good cheer, energetic singing and presents for the children.
"It's nice that everybody gets together and does something for the kids. And it's nice to be part of the community," resident Jean Vance said.
Dana Bartlett, wearing a Christmassy red shirt, said she came for the Christmas spirit.
"And to eat," she said.
As always, the evening featured singing by groups from the various areas that make up Coral Bay. Emmaus Moravian Church led off with its rendition of "Come and Worship."
"You don't have to go to Carnegie Hall. You can hear it here," master of ceremonies Alvis Christian said as he urged the groups to make their way to the center of the basketball court for their turn at the microphone.
While each group gave it their all, the one from Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant had something extra. Owner Moe Chabuz and former bartender Jean Vance danced an energetic jitterbug to "Jingle Bell Rock."
George January, who with his wife, Eirleen, and others started the community Christmas party tradition more than 40 years ago, sang "Silent Night" for the nearly 100 people gathered to celebrate Christmas Coral Bay style.
January finished with "I Wish You a Merry Christmas."
In talking about the early years of the party, January said everybody used to get together to have a little singing.
"They wanted to do something to bring the villages around this area together," Christian added.
January kicked off the night by lighting the Christmas tree, a traditional inkberry tree like the ones in use before pine tree traditions caught on.
Vance and Bonny Corbeil joined community elder Guy Benjamin, 94, in reading a poem about peace.
"Hope is born again in the faces of children," Corbeil read.
Christian spoke about the importance of the annual Christmas event.
"There is no greater symbol than each and every one of you coming together as a community," he said.
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