The man of the hour arrived in style at the 68th Annual Lions Club Santa Parade in 2019. File photo: Emil Breitenbach Jr.

Updated 12/9/21 2:00 p.m.: Riverhead’s annual holiday parade and bonfire events will return to downtown Riverhead next Saturday, Dec. 18, after cancellation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parade was postponed from its originally scheduled date of Dec. 11 because of inclement weather.

The 69th Riverhead Lions Club Holiday Parade will step off at 3 p.m. on West Main Street and end at the Peconic Riverfront around 4 p.m., where the flames of the 21st annual community bonfire will be roaring.

Santa Claus, the guest of honor, will cruise down Main Street in the parade and then take his seat in his gingerbread house on the riverfront. Kids can visit with old St. Nick in the gingerbread house from 4 p.m. until the event wraps up at 6 p.m.

The event is free to attend and complimentary candy canes and hot chocolate (bring your own thermos) will be available. Carolers will sing holiday tunes, while other music for the event will be provided by Mark “MK” LcLaughlin and DJ Phil.

On Saturday, Dec. 11, East End Arts will host local artisans, small businesses and artists for their “Shop Local Holiday Market,” which will be open from 12 to 7 p.m.

The market accompanies the East End Arts’ holiday art sale, which will run throughout the whole weekend at the East End Art gallery. 

Residents enjoy the bonfire on the riverfront in 2019. File photo: Emil Breitenbach Jr.
Children visit with Santa in his gingerbread house during the holiday bonfire event on the riverfront, following the Santa parade in 2019. File photo: Emil Breitenbach Jr.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: