KINGSTON, ONT. --  After a year-long hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nighttime Santa Claus Parade officially made its return to Kingston, Ont.

The 16th annual event drew thousands to its Princess Street route Saturday evening. 

After announcing earlier this year that the parade would be cancelled for a second straight year because of the pandemic, the city reversed course once the province opened up capacity limits in October.

Downtown Kingston! BIA said at the time, they coordinated with Kingston Police, the tourism board and city officials to quickly turn it around in time.

Residents like Svitlana Karavay and her son Christian, thankful they did. 

"It’s nice to be back again in the community and to feel festive," she says, "This is what it’s all about. It’s about family and friends."

Amid record-breaking cases in the region ahead of the parade, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health officials said that it was safe to go ahead with the parade, but asked residents to stay physically distant, wear masks, and stay at home if there were any signs of symptoms.

The parade, a joyful event for Tom Rowley, bringing two-year-old Petunia, and 11-week-old Gretchen.

"It has been up and down and sideways with us being able to go places and not go places," Rowley says. "Now we finally get to do something moderately normal again. It feels good."