On Saturday morning, Main street Edgartown looked like the height of summer, with sidewalks overflowing and stores crowded with people. But instead of shorts and bathing suits, everyone was bundled up in thick coats, scarves and hats, their noses and cheeks flushed pink from the cold. Cries of Merry Christmas peppered the air as candy, stuffed animals and newspapers were tossed into the sea of people.

The hustle and bustle of the town had returned for the annual holiday parade, a highlight of Christmas in Edgartown.

Hunter Tompkins, Tehya Backus-Clement, Katie Ogden, Isabel Carreno-Vogt, Grace Robinson raise money for the animal shelter. — Peter Simon

The celebration is sponsored by the Edgartown Board of Trade and covers four days. Saturday started with the parade where along the parade route snowmen mixed with a wagon full of goats, ponies pranced and old cars honked their classic horns. The Rise dancers kept warm dancing their way through town, and St. Nicholas looked on with his long robes and tall cane. Santa brought up the rear, riding atop a fire truck.

Sun 'n' Fun won best float on wheels for their Polar Express theme, while the Boy Scouts won best walking entry. The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank won the best animal prize, for their float full of goats eating Christmas trees.

After the parade made its final turn out of town, the crowds dispersed, wandering from shop to shop for a knitted scarf or a new ornament. Candy canes thrown during the parade were reduced to a fine peppermint powder under the wheels of passing cars, while at the Mini Park the Girl Scouts did a busy trade in cookies and the Eagle Scouts sold coffee.

No parade is complete without the jolly old fellow. — Peter Simon

The day was a cold one, with temperatures staying below 30, and lines formed wherever hot drinks were being served. Near the Island Cocktail company table, a great Dane, two dachshunds and a border collie gathered, their owners sipping eggnogs and hot ciders.

Under a white tent, the Great Chowder Contest was in full swing. Veteran tasters held stacks of cups as they moved from table to table to test the best of the best, including a chowder prepared on Friday by the regional high school’s culinary arts class. The smell of creamy chowder wafted up over the line of people waiting to get in that stretched around the corner.

“Is that the line for the chowder?” a woman asked in disbelief. “We better get going.”

In Vineyard Square, Spindrift Dance studio dancers performed for a crowd. Sporting gingerbread dresses, a group of girls finished a jazz dance. Next up were a dozen elves, dancing to a hip hop remix of Christmas songs.

Inside the Kelley House, Santa sat between a Christmas tree and roaring fire, holding kids in his lap as they whispered their wishes into his ear. One young boy was not too keen to sit with Santa, so they compromised and his mom held him next to the jolly old fellow.

“Well, we tried,” Mom said with good humor.

More pictures of the parade.