Discovering the German-American Steuben Parade

If you’ve been in New York City for any length of time, you’ve figured out that New Yorkers throw parades for pretty much anything. They’re always a lot of fun, and you never know what you will see when you attend. Last Saturday, I decided to head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side. As I approached Fifth Avenue near the Met, I stumbled upon the annual German-American Steuben Parade.

Despite some German heritage far back in my family tree, I’ve never attended the Steuben Parade before. It was a great experience, with parade participants and bystanders equally getting into the festive spirit! As you might expect, there was a lot of lederhosen and other traditional German clothing to be seen at the parade, as well as marching bands and various German cultural institutions participating. While I watched the parade, I took numerous photographs. Here is a sampling of what the parade included:

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DSC00534The parade participants showed that age was no boundary:

DSC00530 DSC00519There were some beautiful banners and flags:

DSC00543And some great partnerships:

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Somehow a German-American parade needs to have some representative Volkswagen beetles–here’s one from this parade. I particularly like the vintage suitcases on top.

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Of course, every parade needs at least one fire truck, so here it is:

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Finally, in the spirit of New York City, not everything in this parade was German. What would a NYC parade be without some bagpipers?

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Every parade has a background story, and I was curious about this one. From my research, I’ve learned that the first German-American parade was held in Ridgewood, Queens, in 1956. That parade was so successful that the following year the German-American Steuben Parade was organized in Manhattan, and it’s been held each year since. Wondering about the parade’s name? Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was a Prussian general who served with George Washington during the American Revolution and helped to train American troops to fight against the British. If you are interested in learning more about the parade, including next year’s dates, you should check out the parade organization’s website.

I enjoyed the Steuben Parade so much that I’m inspired to find some other parades to watch. Maybe I will see you there!

One place to find out about parades, as well as the road closures associated with them, is on the City of New York’s event website. In addition, the New York City Department of Transportation website lists all road closures in the city each week, including weekends, and there is a specific part of the list for parades and festivals.

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