Pequot Library decked the halls and, with good cheer abounding, hosted its annual Holiday Caroling Party on Friday evening, a community tradition heralding the season.

A jolly good time was had by all at the landmark library, with fires blazing indoors in the fireplace and a bonfire burning outdoors on its Great Lawn.

In the main reading room, visitors settled around the blazing fireplace and sipped wine offered by Sam Kingston, of Kingston Family Vineyards, and Bill Russell, president of the library's Board of Trustees, who managed the bar.

A "Giving Tree" also encouraged support for programs offered by the privately run institution, with ornaments -- carrying specific dollar figures -- for purchase that decorated the tree and benefited the library at the same time.

The auditorium was taken over by the junior set and a crack squad of library "Secret Service Agents," who assisted children and their parents with crafts. Activities included coloring, decorating cookies, constructing pine-cone birdfeeders, twisting striped pipecleaners into candycanes and creating paper-chain garlands.

Holiday music setting the tone for the evening was performed by the Fairfield Country Day School chorale group, The Pinstripes.

On the snow-covered Great Lawn, Don Lord, husband of Pequot Executive Director Martha Lord, oversaw the bonfire, which was built in a steel drum that had been cut in half vertically and propped on stands like a sawhorse.

As always, a highlight of the celebration, harking back to Christmases past, was the horse-drawn carriage rides along Pequot Avenue provided by a crew from Muddy Brook Farm of Amherst, Mass.