Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, 2021: History and Best Places to Watch

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Bring your bonnet because the Free Tour is getting fancy – the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival are almost here! The fanciest thing taking place en route the tour will be happening on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022, from 10 am to 4 pm. And it’s happening completely for free!

2021 Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Saks Fifth Avenue, Credits: zyphbear

As the tradition goes, the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival will take place n Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th St.

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The whole ordeal is not actually a parade in the real sense of the word, like Macy’s Thanksgiving parade or St. Patrick’s Day Parade, so no giant balloons. It’s more of a pageant, where locals don their finest bonnets and walk around Fifth Avenue to show them to like-minded people who share their fancy style of clothing.


The Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival trace its roots back to the 19th century when people used to dress up for Easter. Sometimes around 1870, people started competing by wearing fancier clothing and over-the-top bonnets.

The whole event was popularized by the 1948 movie Easter Parade. The musical romance starred Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Peter Lawford, and Ann Miller. In the movie, a nightclub performer hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star.

Best places to watch the parade

St. Patrick’s Cathedral; Credits: Kjetil r

The Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival span less than half a mile, between 49th and 57th Street. The best places to watch it are considered near-by the St. Patrick Cathedral.

But yet, the even better places are amongst the parading. The parade doesn’t have a formal dress code, so you’re more than welcome to participate even without wearing a bonnet. But it’s fun to wear one!

What to see near-by

Rockefeller Center; Credits: Rob Young

The parade takes place in the very heart of Manhattan, so there’s quite a lot to see around. The two biggest attractions in the areа аре The Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. When hanging around, you’ll certainly enjoy visiting Top of the Rock, check out the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue, or pay the Radio City Music Hall a visit.

Besides that, the area is full of top-notch stores and high-profile places to eat.

In Conclusion

Easter is a big thing in New York, and so are bonnets! Be sure to check the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival on April 17. It is expected to start at about 10 AM and last until 4 PM!

Credits featured image: j-No, Flickr

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