New York City is known for its many parades, but the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival is unique. Everyone is welcome to participate, and there’s no need to register in advance – just show up in your Easter finery, complete with an Easter hat or bonnet, and you are welcome to join in.
This isn’t a parade in the traditional sense. There are no decorated floats, and no marching bands. In fact, there really isn’t a lot of organization at all. Parade participants and viewers mingle together, and the parade extends for approximately 6 hours, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to attend the entire time. Show up when you want, and leave when you want. There really are almost no rules!)
Some marchers are dressed for church, wearing hats that are similarly appropriate. Others have created their own hats and coordinating outfits based on any variety of themes, both fun and fantastical.
The Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival has roots that go back to the 1870s. It is held on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, between 49th and 57th Streets. If you go next year, be prepared for the crowds. This is truly one of those special New York City experiences that everyone wants to participate in!