It’s been a long time since St. John was a sleepy little island, but there’s probably never been a day so chocked full of holiday events as this coming Saturday.
Residents and visitors can choose from five community events, many of which are family-friendly. To help community members plan their day, the events are listed according to starting time.
Cruz Bay Children’s Jolly Jog, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
The day begins with an entirely new event, the first annual Cruz Bay Children’s Jolly Jog. Children of all ages – and their parents – are invited to dress up in holiday costumes and participate in a jog through Cruz Bay.
The route is similar to the carnival parade route from the National Park Ball Field to the ferry dock, to the roundabout, the tennis court and then back to the start –– a distance of about a mile.
Those who want to take on a greater challenge can complete two laps around the same route, and children under five years old can run with their parents on a half-mile course from the playground to the post office and back.
The event is the brainchild of Chelsea Baranowski, who remembers running that route as a youngster. Since 2020, she’s been hosting a running club for kids. She now leads up to 25 students from the Gifft Hill School and the Julius E. Sprauve School on cross-country runs, and she’s proud that several runners have been top finishers in a series of recent district-wide meets.
Registration for the Jolly Jog is free. Sign up in advance on Facebook by using the QR code or click here to register using Google Forms. For those who want to register that morning, Baranowski suggests arriving early.
The Jolly Jog is being sponsored by the Sports, Parks and Recreation Department, Society 340, the Gifft Hill School and the Julius E. Sprauve School.
The Bizarre Bazaar, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Coral Bay
The Bizarre Bazaar, held at Johnny Lime in Coral Bay, is one of those events that draws folks from as far away as St. Thomas. Now in its 11th year, it’s an all-day crafts fair, musical event, and food festival with more than 30 small business vendors and non-profits setting up booths. Sponsored by the Coral Bay Community Council, locals prize it as one of the first opportunities to catch up with old friends for the holiday season.
Community Arts and Holiday Gift Showcase, 4 to 11 p.m. in Cruz Bay
For shoppers who can’t make it out to Coral Bay, Aubrey Artworks is sponsoring a pop-up holiday gift showcase in Cruz Bay at the former Chase Bank/First Bank building across from Connections.
The show will feature crafts, including pottery from St. Croix, glassworks from St. Thomas, and housewares from St. John, as well as fine art by emerging and established artists. “It’s a great place to buy gifts that are affordable,” said Aubrey “AC” Burgess, who intends to hold pop-up arts and crafts shows throughout the coming season.
Cruz Bay Christmas Town, 4 to 10 p.m., Frank A. Powell Sr. Park in Cruz Bay
Frank A. Powell Sr. Park in Cruz Bay is the site of Christmas Town, another new family event for the holiday season. Activities for children include face painting, games, a Christmas crafts table, and photo ops with Santa. Students from the St. John School of the Arts will sing and perform pantomimes and Caribbean dances.
There will be a deejay and a performance by the V.I. for Life Quadrille Dancers. Vendors will sell food and display their wares for shoppers. To enhance the festive spirit, community members are invited to wear their finest Christmas pajamas.
Cruz Bay Christmas Town is being organized by Carissa Paris and Meschaun Wilkinson, owners of the food truck Tasty Bites. “We did a back-to-school event in August,” said Paris, “and it was so much fun we wanted to do something again for the children for the holidays.”
Presentation and Book Signing by Kayden Corbett Richards, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the St. John School of the Arts
Kayden Corbett Richards will be signing copies of his new book, “Personal Legends,” at the St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Richards, who is primarily a photographer, has been the artist-in-residence at the Virgin Islands National Park for the past two years. His newest project includes videotaped interviews with a cross-section of Virgin Islanders and also a book of selected portraits and quotations from those interviews.
In his artist’s statement, Richards said, “As I embarked on this creative exploration, I became a storyteller, weaving together the past and the present to reveal the personal legends hidden within each person….I hope to foster a deeper appreciation for the enduring spirit of Virgin Islanders and the profound importance of preserving our heritage and claiming space.”
Richards will present some of his video interviews at 5 p.m.
The “Persona Legends” project was sponsored by the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park as part of an initiative to promote nature-based and cultural storytelling. It was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.
And that’s not all….
Other upcoming holiday events include:
Friday, Dec. 15: The Governor’s Children’s Christmas Party with Santa, toys, treats, giveaways and music from 4 to 6 p.m. in Frank A. Powell Sr. Park in Cruz Bay.
Saturday, Dec. 16: Sing St John’s 6th Annual Holiday Celebration with performances by the St. John Recovery Choir, Ocama Youth Choir, St. John Church Choirs, Love City Pan Dragons, plus a community carol sing. The concert will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in Frank Powell Park.
Saturday, Dec. 16: The 28th annual All-Island Holiday Party at Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay, sponsored by the Sun Dog Café. Also known as “The Prom,” this event for adults begins at 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23: Christmas Fundraiser and Concert for the Love City Pan Dragons Youth Steel Orchestra held at the St. John School of the Arts from 5 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23: Free Christmas Movie Night at the National Park Ballfield in Cruz Bay from 6 to 10 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 24: Coral Bay Holiday Boat Parade, with an appearance by Santa Claus, a snowball fight, and Christmas party at Johnny Lime. Santa arrives at 4:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec 25: The 2023 Annual Holiday Festival will be held at the parking lot next to the Cruz Bay tennis courts, sponsored by the V.I. Port Authority and the V.I. Fire and Medical Emergency Services. There will be food, music, and vendors (but no parking!)
Tuesday, Dec. 26: Kwanzaa Celebration in Frank Powell Park sponsored by the Sigma Theta Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Details to follow.