Celebrating the NYC Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival

No one would ever mistake Manhattan for being a touchy-feely city. People mostly keep to themselves and the pace can make even the most type – A personality long for a breath. But now and then a holiday comes along and the city softens. Crowds brim with laughter and smiles and the only goal is to have fun—with strangers no less. The NYC Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival is such a day.

Girl wearing easter egg hat costume in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016

The festivities this year take place on April 21, 2019 (from 10 am – 4 pm on Fifth Avenue between 49th Street and 57th Street-–though most people hang out in front of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. While the official title includes “parade“, it really isn’t. It’s more of a mill about, but what it lacks in walking it makes up for in creativity.

Revelers spend weeks crafting beautiful hats ranging from stunning period pieces to off-the-wall wacky, while others wear costumes from head to toe. The rest of the crowd it there to selfies with the best of the bunch. Picture the commotion surrounding a Kardashian and multiply that by 10.

For those with the best ensembles (and there are A LOT of amazing creations), crowds surround them five people deep. For hours, the boldly attired are the center of attention. Many of the costumed attendees are long-time regulars of the event and the Easter Parade is where they enjoy an annual fix of 15 minutes of fame.

Did you know that the Easter Parade dates back to the 1800’s? Originally, the hoity-toity of the time used to stroll down Fifth Avenue dressed in their finest after church services for the rest of the world to see. (A little obnoxious if you ask me.)

Today it’s a spectacle of another kind, and loads of fun.

Here’s a peek of what I’ve seen in the past plus a little video I put together in 2016. Guaranteed, it’ll be just as grand this year.

Patricia Fox

If you find yourself at the parade be on the lookout for Patricia Fox. She’s always bedazzled from head to toe and usually one of the best dressed of the bunch.

She’s an assemblage artist (a means of expression using mixed media in fashion and home) who’s created her own lifestyle brand called Purely Patricia. She’s also a celebrity, spokesperson, brand ambassador, fashion icon, personal stylist, interior decorator, and jewelry designer, just to name of few of the professions she lists on her website.

Her fashion advice to those who care to listen: “Go into the world and show off your own personal style. Fashion today is about trends. Be a trendsetter not a follower.”

Patricia Fox and Howard Chavez at the 2017 Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet FestivalEaster Parade 2017-_MG_082020170417

Other Creative Revelers and Their Easter Hats From Years Past

woman wearing chocolate bunny costume at the Easter Parade New York City 2016
Sparkle flower shoes in the Easter Parade NYC in 2016
Two couples dressed in vintage costumes at the Easter Parade NYC in 2016
Father and son wearing easter hats in the Easter Parade New York City 2016
Man and woman wearing marshmellow peep hat at the Easter Parade New York City 2016
Men in lumbar jack outfits in the Easter Parade New York City 2016
Man in crazy easter egg costume at the Easter Parade New York City 2016

A little ditty I put together in 2016

[wpvideo II3y646R hd=true]

Now tell me…. Don’t you want to go?

71 thoughts on “Celebrating the NYC Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Thanks, it’s not hard to make all those great costumes shine. I’m always amazed at how incredible they are. I just don’t have that kind of creativity. 🙂

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Festive with a capital F. I am amazed at the time and detail pay to their costumes. It’s no joke. Those that were most decked out do it annually. I just don’t have that kind of creativity but I’m thrilled they do. 🙂

  1. Whitney says:

    Hi Susan,

    Your photos continually make me feel like jumping in to wherever you are! These pics took me right back to when I was a little girl my sister, mom and I would go to this parade. One year I was wearing my favorite pink dress with chiffon angel wings, as I called it, and was interviewed by the local news channel making it onto the evening news. Such fond, happy memories…am thrilled to see the tradition is still going strong!

    Grateful as always,

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      Thank you, Mark. I still don’t know what he is and he was so popular all I had was a chance to grab a shot and move on. The guy with the cigar I think is on ever revelers camera. He just stood there motionless and let people run up to shoot him.

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      So true. Some went all out on the humor quotient, but it was also nice to see all the people who chose to come in period costumes. Everyone did an amazing job. I am not a costume person, Halloween is not my favorite holiday, but I do admire those who embrace it. 🙂

  2. creativityunending says:

    This looks like so much fun! Now i kind of actually want to DO it! This post made my day with the uplifting colors and unique scenes. I am definitely spreading the word about your blog! Do you have any suggestions for blog newcomers?I’m an actor by trade, so I just started a blog with the focus on movies, plays, and the surrounding media. I would be very grateful for any wisdom that you may have!

  3. carlamcgill says:

    Love this, Susan. Thanks for the bonus video! Have never been there during Easter, but for seven consecutive years we were there during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and saw some similar creative get-ups! A great city.

  4. purely patricia says:

    this is so spectacular susan! i loved reliving the wonderful “15 minutes of fame” (which was actually 2 1/2 hours……thank you for the gift of you and your talent fun to see us coming and going!

  5. di20are says:

    Wow! Never knew such a thing was held every year in New York! With your photos you’ve captured the feeling of this event so wonderfully! Thank you so much for doing this 🙂

  6. hmunro says:

    I’ve never even heard of this event before, but thanks to your marvelous post I feel as if I’ve actually *been* there. Thank you for this wonderful réportage!

  7. Jet Eliot says:

    I had SO much fun going to this Mill About with you, Susan. Your photos captured so much, I could never decide which costume I liked more, because each one was so creative and well done. Your video clip was wonderful. The 1948 movie “Easter Parade” gives a great picture of the original event, and after seeing your rendition here, I am happy to see the spirit has not lost its luster over the decades. Really fun post.

    • Susan Portnoy says:

      I’m so glad you had fun with the post Jet! I know, the creativity some people have knocks me over. I’m just not that kind of person who can make, let alone think of, those kinds of wonderful costumes. Thus Halloween has never been a strong post for me. And thank you about the video too. I’m just starting to learn to edit. It’s a little rough but I had a blast last night putting it together. 🙂

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