OXFORD – It didn't exactly go as planned, but Oxford's annual Country Christmas event still went on through the drenching rain Friday night, even without Santa Claus to light the tree.

But it just so happened there was a Grinch walking around the streets.

'The plan all along was for Santa to come to town on his horse-drawn carriage as he's always done in the past, but because we had bahumbug, we decided that we were going to switch it up a bit,' said Oxford Mainstreet Executive Director Sue Cole. 'We were going to have the Grinch come to town because he stole our good weather for tonight.

'We couldn't have planned it any better.'

The rain did put a wrench into all the planning, though it was hard to tell with the way Oxford Mainstreet handled it.

X vendors were planning to line the street, but quick thinking and cooperation allowed most of the vendors to move indoors, though a handful braved the weather and stayed under their canopies.

The same happened for some performers.

'We worked hard over the last day and a half to make accommodations to bring everybody in-house and to bring some of the performers in as well,' Cole said. 'Everybody was very accommodating and very welcoming [to the changes].'

After all was said and done, only four vendors decided it was best for them to stay home.

The crowd on hand wasn't nearly the size which normally comes out, but there were dozens on hand to witness the tree lighting and visit Santa and Mrs. Claus indoors.

'[The rain] put a damper on it by way of the crowd and the volume of people that are coming out, and it's understandable,' Cole said.

One of those who didn't mind getting wet was 7-year-old Kayleigh Stevens, who asked Santa Claus for a scooter this Christmas.

'We have diehards that are here who are coming out to support whether it's a dancer in the family, it's a local business, or one of the family traditions that no matter what happens, you always find a way to go,' Cole said. 'It's reassuring that we do have the crowd we do tonight.

'We always say that we look to just keep the spirit and overcome.'

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