Downtown shop owners were "sale-ing" through the holiday season Thursday as Fairfield's first Shop 'n' Stroll took place.

Organized by the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce and the town, the program was designed to draw shoppers to the center retail district with discounts, food and drink, entertainment and giveaways.

Greg French, a partner at Henry C. Reid Jewelers, said the promotion was a good idea. His store planned to stay open late and offer wine and cheese from 4 to 9 p.m. "This is something that Fairfield will embrace," French said. "It's nice to have the merchants come together and create an environment wherein people from town can celebrate Christmas."

Sandra Halstead, co-owner with her husband Chris of The Beehive, a new Post Road shop, was equally pleased. "You never know what to expect when something is done for the first time, but if all of the shops are participating and make it great, it should attract shoppers and ultimately enhance the downtown shopping experience," she said.

The Beehive planned to offer cocktails made with White Whale mixers, a product the store carries. "Chris will be bartending from 5 to 9 p.m. I'm trying to get him to dress up like Santa," she added with a laugh.

Halstead said that when she lived in California, shop owners organizing a similar shopping promotion once a month. "I'd love to see this happen monthly," she said. "Not every area has the luxury of a beautiful, picturesque downtown like Fairfield."

Written with paint across one window at Capri Clothing was the phrase, "SHOP SMALL." It reflected many downtown retailers' desire that local residents support small businesses in the community instead of "big-box" chain stores.

Inside, Capri's Assistant Manager Beth McPadden was sprucing up the displays for the event. "We're excited about the Stroll," she said. "I love that the town is participating and has gotten this off the ground. We're offering 20 percent off all day today, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, all good incentives to come finish your holiday shopping here."

Over at the main branch of the Fairfield Public Library, Jen Fisher, the assistant director, was straightening books on offer in the library's Holiday Book Sale, running through Dec. 16. "We're open until 9 p.m. anyhow, but we will also roll out carts of books and offer some seasonal refreshments as well."

Glenn Grella, owner of the popular Pronto Chop House & Pizzeria, at 1241 Post Road, said the eatery would be offering soup and chili choices. "Stop in and warm up," he encouraged.

Others shops joining the Shop 'n' Stroll participants included: Jenny Boston Boutique, with co-owner Lisa Gach, featuring a $20 rack of dresses and skirts, scarves for $14, plus cookies and wine for shoppers; Dash 'n' Drizzle's co-owner Jeff Stein collaborating with Tri-Embrace to offer a roasted butternut squash soup made with DND Tuscan herb olive oil, and La Moda's store owner Mary Scaso offering 10 percent off storewide, "because we love you every day Fairfield!" she exclaimed.