CRUZ BAY — A change of seasons brightened up Franklin Powell Park Thursday with the Governor’s Christmas Party. Dozens of children frolicked around a decorated tree as Gov. Kenneth Mapp and Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter arrived with greetings for the families.
Mapp thanked the Love for Love City foundation for providing stacks of wrapped gifts that filled the park bandstand. He also thanked members of his staff for their efforts to help stage the holiday event. He also praised the work of Water and Power Authority and visiting utility crews for restoring electrical service to St. John.
“As of today 93 percent of St. John customers have power,” Mapp said
Potter emphasized the day’s festivities. “We want to be able to let every youngster to leave with a toy that will help begin the Christmas season for them,” the lieutenant governor said.
For certain, the children were ready for a party. The park was alive with laughter and the patter of feet running to and fro as mock sword fights broke out.
But others chose to celebrate in low key style. Saylor Bourassa slid the cuff of his Santa hat over his nose and snoozed on the wall near the Loredon Boynes Dock. His cream-colored pup, Diddy, stood watch at the end of a leash.
His father, Ben Bourassa, manned the refreshment table. A volunteer with Love for Love City, he proudly showed off a smartphone shot he snapped of boy and dog.
Parents herded their young ones into a long and orderly line at the foot of the bandstand as the dignitaries made their remarks. Adults chatted in groups, exchanging holiday greetings and stories of hurricane recovery.
Ten weeks had passed since catastrophic Hurricane Irma reminded everyone it was hurricane season. Representatives of the Small Business Administration posted themselves at the park boundaries, armed with brochures about disaster loans. Adults chatted in groups, exchanging holiday greetings and stories of hurricane recovery.
St. John Administrator Camille Paris Jr. directed the children’s attention to the Christmas tree, asking them to count to three while the governor lit the tree at sunset.
The Love City Pan Dragons began the evening’s entertainment as a fire truck pulled up. Sirens wailing, they dropped off the real dignitary — Santa Claus.
The children’s patience was about to pay off. Wearing a bright orange shirt and a relaxed smile, the governor assisted with distributing gifts. Families queued up again for burgers, dogs and chips. Parents dropped by another table for sodas and cold beers.
After sunset, the St. Thomas Majorettes twirled batons with rainbow-colored tips. Two tiny dancers, dressed in red, joined in with acrobatics.
Spectrum Band rounded out the night with soca music.
The St. John Christmas party was the first of three events. Children’s parties, hosted by the governor, were set for Friday on St. Thomas in Emancipation Garden. The St. Croix party took place at Canegata Ballpark on Wednesday.