KITCHENER -- For the second straight year, the big man in red touched down in Kitchener to ring in the holiday season at the Reverse Santa Claus Parade.

Santa landed his sleigh at the Kitchener Aud Saturday afternoon for the unique drive-thru event. Residents rolled into the arena parking lot to drive past Saint Nick and other Christmas floats while remaining in their vehicles.

"Oh I love seeing all the boys and girls and their smiles," Santa told CTV News. “They're so excited to see Santa."

The province lifted gathering restrictions on outdoor events in October, but parade organizers with the Lions Club of Kitchener said that wasn't enough time to bring back a traditional parade.

“We had already made the preparations. We thought we'd go with the way we did last year because it was successful," said Jack Bishop, chairman of the Santa Claus Parade Committee.

About 600 vehicles registered for last year's reverse parade and a similar number was expected for 2021.

"The kids get to see everything up close and you know, not fighting the crowd so it was absolutely fantastic," said Arlene Nancekivell, who drove through the parade.

Other attendees were happy with the short line-ups and low wait times.

"This was super organized this year," Jennifer Benninger said. "They obviously had a really good idea of head count in terms of how many cars could go through, so everything moved super well. Everybody was super happy to be here."

The Lions Club of Kitchener is also organizing a reverse parade for next weekend at RIM Park in Waterloo. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and registration is not required.

More information can be found on the Lions Club of Kitchener website.