It takes more than rain and cold to dampen the holiday spirit -- at least in New Canaan.

Despite a lousy weather Friday evening, hundreds came to the center of town to herald the start of the holiday season during the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce's 10th Holiday Stroll.

The annual event featured live music, dance, and theater performances, the arrival of Santa Claus and the official lighting of the downtown trees.

People, shielded against the elements by umbrellas and raincoats, cheered Frosty the Snowman, the Grinch and Rudolph while strolling through Elm and Main streets.

"Rain or shine it's a pretty fun night," First Selectman Robert Mallozzi said. "It's just like the Fourth of July, it's just like the Sidewalk Sale. It's something that everyone looks forward to. My wife is a substitute teacher, and all the kids talked about today was coming here."

On a stage set up at the intersection of South Avenue and Elm Street, Mallozzi was joined by Tucker Murphy, the chamber's executive director, who also noted that the wet weather never stopped crowds from gathering downtown for the holiday event.

As has become a tradition, Mallozzi was wearing his bright green, Christmas-themed pants.

The party started just after 5 p.m. with the Saxe Middle School saxophone band playing Christmas carols. More holiday songs followed, featuring students of The Studio and the New Canaan Dance Academy. A cast of children from New Canaan and surrounding towns performed the play "Two Little Snow Flakes."

The downtown trees were officially lit at about 7 p.m., when Santa, Mrs. Claus and Elf arrived.

The stroll also featured complimentary beverages, snacks and soup, a gingerbread house tour, and other attractions.

The event continued the following day but some of the activities have been rescheduled to Saturday, Dec 13, because of the rain. The entertainment includes music performances by the Norwalk Symphony Quintet at noon, ice-carving demonstrations starting at 10 a.m. with a toy drive to help local families in need, and photo opportunities with holiday characters throughout the day.

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson