The holiday season roared into town as people from near and far descended on Edgartown this weekend to embrace the Christmas cheer.

The lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse kicked off the weekend of festivities as the 38th annual Christmas in Edgartown festival got underway on Friday. The event attracted a large, festive crowd at the Harbor View Hotel on a damp but cheerful night.

Nothing beats riding in a parade float. — Melissa Knowles

Those gathered enjoyed cookies, hot chocolate and seasonal cocktails from the bar. But the event also centered around one particularly jolly man, dressed in red with a white beard.

One-month-old Colt Doyle, who slept right through his first encounter with Santa Claus, was definitely on the nice list.

As the clock neared 6 p.m. and the Edgartown Carolers sang Silent Night, an eager crowd moved to the porch to watch the lighthouse set aglow — filling the dark harbor with a splash of festive color.

Adriana and Madison Curelli. — Melissa Knowles

The festivities continued the next day on Main street with the Christmas in Edgartown parade. Donning rain boots and ponchos in lieu of snow gear, people filled the street as the procession of floats worked their way towards the waterfront. Santa made another appearance on Saturday; this time his sleigh was replaced with a vintage 1927 Mack fire truck from Edgartown.

“We love the parade,” said Matt Shane from New York, whose family of three attend every year. “We were glad the rain held off. And Caroline [age two] even got a chance to wave at Santa Claus.”

The caboose of the procession was a top-down blue Mini-Cooper, stuffed with a larger-than-life Teddy Bear, driven by organizers of the Teddy Bear Suite.

“We almost missed it. We couldn’t drive in the rain,” said Guinevere Cramer from the driver’s seat. “But as soon as it cleared we loaded up the Mini-Cooper and took off. . . just in time.”

Lyla Fowler meets Santa. — Melissa Knowles

As the procession made its final turn onto Winter street, many drifted toward the Great Chowder Contest tent, organized by the Red Stocking Fund, to warm their spirits with a steaming bowl of the classic New England elixir. Others ducked into Main street shops for some Christmas shopping or into one of the bars and restaurants.

Later in the afternoon, day-trippers trickled toward Memorial Wharf to await the Hy-Line Ferry back to the mainland — wading through the tide that had risen above the dock, due to a full moon and heavy morning rain.

“It’s like we’re at the beach,” said eight year-old Elvis Maroney to his younger sister, the pair quite content to splash in the pool of ankle-deep saltwater at the base of an 18-foot conch-pot Christmas tree built by Sandy Fisher.

The Minnesingers closed out the day of celebration as night fell on the town, filling the pews of the Old Whaling Church with seasonal ballads, the young voices lifting off from the Whaling Church and making their way through the empty streets of town, all aglow with storefront windows, lampposts and the warmth of Christmas cheer.

More pictures.