Gray skies were no match for the high spirits found during the joyous festivities of Village Christmas last weekend.

"God cooperated again with the weather," said Walter Pierce, director of Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce. "The low was 38 degrees that night and 48 when we started. That's pretty good."

Perhaps the biggest change this year was stretching the holiday hoopla from one to three blocks — from Lincoln to Lombard streets.

"The whole evening was a little bit more relaxed," Pierce said. "It wasn't so crowded. People were able to take their time and shop and visit Santa."

The big guy certainly didn't disappoint either.

Santa came atop a vintage Cornbelt Fire Protection District firetruck waving at kiddos as they jumped and waved with glee as the man in red made his way down Main Street.

"The magic is Santa," Pierce said. "So to see that reaction ... if one kid had showed up and that was it for the whole weekend, then I would have felt positive about the whole weekend."

If Santa didn't spark the holiday cheer for attendees, then the Mahomet-Seymour High School's madrigal singers certainly did.

"When Santa went into his house, about 40 to 50 people stood and sang 'Silent Night.' It was just one of those moments. It was so cool," Pierce said.

Lance Meuser also wowed the crowd with his tickling of the piano keys to holiday tune favorites.

"He played in Russell Park and people stopped just to listen to him," Pierce said. "There was something for everybody pretty much."

But Santa stole the show yet again Saturday with Breakfast with Santa at Mahomet-Seymour High School's commons area, where children had a photo op with the big guy.

"Saturday morning, there was a little girl in the first session in the Breakfast with Santa and she came running up to Santa and hugged him and you could just see little tears running down her face," Pierce said.

"I heard another kid later say, 'That wasn't a mall Santa, that's the real Santa!'" he added.

"When you hear that, you're like, 'OK, all this I've been putting in it's worth it; my God, it's worth it.'"

If Pierce had to guess, he estimated 500 to 600 children were downtown "roaming around" to kick off their monthlong holiday celebrations over the weekend.

The event was great exposure for Mahomet's business community, which pitched in by sponsoring and decorating handcrafted wooden trees made by Jarrod Rodgers, an M-S grad and owner of Second Life Design, displayed in the lawn near the Village Administration Building.

"It allows our businesses to show off their generosity," Pierce said. "So many businesses participated."

But at the end of the day, Pierce said it wasn't about exposure for the business owners.

"It's (the Christmas trees) not there to promote State Farm or JT Walker's or Yo Yo's, it's, 'This is what we're going to do for the kids,'" Pierce said.

The annual holiday celebration is one that continues to pay off big time, making lasting impressions on the village of Mahomet's community members.

"It's a good kickoff to the holiday season. It brings a lot of people downtown and we show off Mahomet, too," Pierce said.

"I say this all of the time: I grew up here so I think of Mahomet as Mayberry, but it's Mayberry with growth and it's a neat, small-town community. I can't imagine any other community doing what we do as well as we do, and that's not the chamber and that's not the school. It's everybody and we just do it."