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California Raisins Entertain Children at White House Party

December 13, 1988 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The California Raisins donned red noses and NBC weatherman Willard Scott played Santa on Tuesday as they helped Nancy Reagan hold her final White House Christmas party for the children of the diplomatic corps.

″We’ll be thinking of you ... we’ll both be thinking of you, and this party, next year,″ Mrs. Reagan told the gathering in the East Room. ″Best wishes for a Merry Christmas for all the years to come.″

The first lady, clad in a signature red dress, sat among the squirming and giggling crowd of some 370 children, and watched as dancers, dressed as the giant purple raisins, cavorted to and fro to the tunes of various Christmas carols set to Motown rhythm.

Scott, who acted as master of ceremonies, then joined Mrs. Reagan and the children in the State Dining Room for a round of cookies and punch.

The annual party, organized by The Hospitality and Information Service, has been a White House tradition since 1962, when it was first hosted by Jacqueline Kennedy.

The children are invited to attend by the service, which helps diplomatic families adjust to Washington. This year, the children ranged in age from 6 to 10 and came from some 73 countries, according to Jane Taube, a volunteer organizer for THIS.