Dec. 14, 2004 The Governor's Annual Children's Christmas Party has been a tradition in the Virgin Islands for as long as anyone can remember. Emancipation Garden on St. Thomas was aglow with twinkling lights and holiday spirit Tuesday evening, as hundreds of children and their families turned out for the festivities.
The evening was filled with holiday music, beginning and ending with the Rising Stars Steel Orchestra. The Leonard Dober School Choir and the Michael J. Kirwan Terrace School Choir also performed, with a solo performance by Brittany Thompson.
Mavis Turnbull Richards, the governor's sister, has been organizing the event on St. Thomas for the past six years. "We do this for the children," she said. "It means a lot to me because the kids love seeing the governor and Santa and they're happy with the gifts."
Santa's sleigh was filled with about 1,000 wrapped gifts that included puzzles, games, trucks and art supplies. In addition, one lucky child won a bicycle from a free raffle.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull made a grand entrance, arriving with Santa Claus on the back of a fire truck. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas before turning the event over to Santa for gift-giving.
"Every governor who comes in tries to give back. Some children are less fortunate and we want to give something to them," said Shelley Percival, administrative assistant. Local businesses donated most of the gifts and money for a buffet table. Where their giving stopped, the government picked up.
The Annual Children's Christmas Party is held on each island every year. Last week the celebration took place on St. Croix; the St. John celebration will be held Dec. 20.
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