Stormy weather didn't stop Santa Claus from making his way through downtown Sacramento on Saturday.
The jolly old man arrived in style showing up in his usual red outfit, atop a sled that was drawn by a white Audi SUV.
In spite of the light drizzle and cold temperatures, families came out in droves Saturday morning for the Santa Parade, a tradition that dates back 30 years.
"Sacramento, we've got that fighting spirit," said Mayor Kevin Johnson, pumping his fists. "Rain or shine, we were going to show up."
The mayor, though, was leading a smaller parade than usual. Several marching bands and youth groups pulled out at the last minute due to the weather, event organizer Laurie Hensley said.
Still, it didn't stop Sienna Montoya from enjoying the parade.
"Santa," the 5-year-old said shyly, when asked what she liked best about the event.
Noelle Deeter watched with her two friends, who drove from Pacifica just for the parade.
"We wanted to celebrate Christmas," said Deeter, 22, a transplant from Los Angeles. "I wanted to see the local flavor."
Participants and spectators didn't let the weather dampen their holiday spirit. The parade took on a new dimension, marked by umbrellas, ponchos and overcoats.
Roy Hernandez was ready for the storm. He pitched a large canopy on 10th Street to shield his wife and two kids from the rain.
"We geared up yesterday," he said. "We couldn't miss it. It's a tradition."
"As kids, we used to come every year," added Hernandez's wife, Elia.
The family has attended the parade for seven straight years.
"Let It Snow" was blaring from loudspeakers while a steady rain fell on the street.
The weather improved as the parade went on. When Santa made his big appearance at the end chanting "Ho, ho, ho," the rain had stopped completely, with a glimmer of sunshine on the horizon.
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