Dec. 2, 2003 – The West Indian Co., the Committee to Revive Our Culture and the Havensight Merchant and Professional Association welcomed Christmas to the American Paradise in style on Tuesday night.
There were jammin' bands pounding out "Jingle Bells," jewelry made of coral and shells, johnnycakes, mocko jumbies and, of course, hundreds of kids all clamoring for Santa! But in this land of sun and sand, nothing turns the heart toward thoughts of holiday giving and cheer quite like a 25-foot Christmas tree set aglow in green, red, white and blue.
At 6 p.m., the appointed hour for the annual lighting of the tree in Havensight, several things happened in rapid succession:
First, the children of Bertha C. Boschulte Burning Blazers Steelband played their way through a rising crescendo to a silence that soon filled with applause from the crowd which had gathered around them.
Second, an intrepid youngster standing on a low stage in front of the massive tree was given the go-ahead from Santa (or maybe it was one of his helpers) to flip the switch, causing the tree to burst into a blaze of light to loud cheering from all quarters.
And then, unexpectedly, the Century, one of a trio of cruise ships in port for the day, sounded three booming bass notes in solidarity with the newly shining tree.
In this way, Christmas arrived on St. Thomas.
A line of children several hundred strong wound its way toward the base of the tree, each youngster awaiting a turn to meet Santa and collect some of the goodies being handed out to one and all.
Parents and visitors snapped pictures, the BCB steelband kicked back into gear, and a foursome of rosy-cheeked Mocko Jumbie Jamboree stilt dancers towered over the crush of humanity heading across the parking lot, lured, no doubt, by the smell of saltfish patés and popcorn prepared by a handful of local vendors.
Cool Session, Milo's Kings and Lashing Dogs were set up in different areas of the Havensight property, and the evening air throbbed with a mix of Christmas standards and the bands' own well-known tunes. The mall's many stores stayed open late to accommodate the increased traffic, and it didn't look as if the salespeople minded the extra work; music was in the air, and many were at the front doors of their shops, swaying and singing along.
With more than a dozen local artists and artisans set up outside offering their wares as well, there was lots to keep the adults' attention. But, as everyone knows, Christmas is really for kids, and as they know, they need to be nice, and not naughty, in the coming year, so that Santa will have a good reason to come back to Havensight for Christmas of 2004.
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