Dec. 19, 2002 Sirens blasting and lights flashing, the Fire Service truck rolled into Cruz Bay with Santa waving from the back.
"Ho, ho," Santa said as he made his way through throngs of children looking for his arrival in Cruz Bay Park.
Several hundred youngsters gathered Thursday for St. John's annual Governor's Christmas Party. Santa's helpers had 500 gifts on hand to distribute to the children, thanks to the generosity of many St. John businesses, Administrator Julien Harley said.
"Christmas is supposed to be about spirit and giving," he said.
Marva Dagou, 12, and her friend Elvela Joshua, 13, were busy listening to music and waiting for Santa. When asked what Christmas meant to them, they both had the same answer.
"Gifts," they said.
The evening started out with a performance by the Love City Pan Dragons. While such standards as "Winter Wonderland," and "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" had people tapping their feet, the traditional Caribbean songs of the season such as "Mamma, Bake the Johnny Cake" were big favorites.
A parade of about 80 youths in the Police Department's Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Program Marching Band set the stage for Santa's arrival. The students are from Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School on St. Thomas and St. John's Julius E. Sprauve School.
Of course, their pre-party parade through the streets of Cruz Bay brought rush hour traffic to a complete standstill.
The evening was a chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones and heap accolades on people for doing good deeds.
Kate Kennedy, a visitor from Burlington, Vermont, had words of praise for a VITRAN bus driver who, she said, threw a man off the bus for harassing a woman seated next to him. Kennedy said it appeared to be a domestic conflict, and the bus driver took the woman back to Cruz Bay so she could catch the ferry safely.
"The woman was hysterical," Kennedy said, adding that the incident took place in sight of a police officer riding the bus.
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