NEW CANAAN — Elm Street, which is usually packed with cars going back and forth the downtown area, was an entirely different scene on Friday evening. The lights and decorations, which had been placed about a week ago by volunteers, were in full splendor as families from the town and surrounding area strolled through the strip to celebrate the festivities.
Jeff and Bridget Lasda from Stamford came with one purpose: so that their son Cameron could see Santa Claus.
“We are hoping to see him and get some pictures,” Jeff said as his son Cameron played with some of the Christmas lights he was using as an oversized necklace.
The Saxe Saxophone ensemble began playing classic holiday tunes around 5:30 p.m. as a crowd began to form in front of the temporary stage at the intersection of Elm Street and South Avenue. Attendees began singing but you could hear some of the younger people joining in with remixed versions of the classics.
Small businesses took advantage of the occasion to attract potential customers. Anne and Neil Hamilton along with their daughter Charlotte were giving away samples of their artisan fudge to promote their new business, Chocolate Moonshine, which opened in May.
“These free samples are handpainted,” Anne said as she pointed out the different assortment of chocolate colors.
Volunteers from the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce were stationed within the strip to sell merchandise for their fundraiser.
“We are excited to be here and we are selling lights and hats to support the show that’s going on tonight,” said Afsaneh Djabbari-Aslani.
The longest line by far was the one for Waffle Cabin which traversed the entire width of the street. The warm, sweet aroma wafted throughout the street as Ingrid Heyrman kept the waffle irons churning.
One of the directors of the New England Academy of Dance, Gina Ortiz introduced a preview of the Nutcracker performance.
“We are giving you a little show tonight and the full-length performance will be on Dec. 8 and will be performed to live music at New Canaan High School,” she said.
Following the performance, Tucker Murphy, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce introduced First Selectman Kevin Moynihan on the stage. “Next Saturday, Santa Claus will be arriving via helicopter to Mead Park,” she announced.
The event continued until around 9 p.m. with families taking pictures and enjoying the holiday spirit.