Hundreds hopped to the returning Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival Sunday in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
On April 17, the egg-stravagant Easter Hat parade came again after being canceled and then severely hampered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sun shone down upon East 51st Street and Fifth Avenue, transforming the roadway into a fashion runway and a hat hunt where photographers rushed to snap the eye-catching outfits.
The young and old alike strolled 47th Street to 59th Street with hats blooming with flowers, bonnets rolling with eggs, and all styles in between. For some this was a brand-new experience, but for others it was a return to a long-term tradition.
Scott Daal thought the Easter Parade was the perfect way to celebrate his wife’s birthday. Tracy Cruise joined him by donning their custom-made hats, Fedora’s covered in flowers and birds, the New Jersey couple were excited to see so many people outside socializing and celebrating life in the warm weather.
“Some of the hats are amazing, and that’s what I think is cool about all of this,” Cruise said, adding, “You know what is also really cool? Is how people are connecting, they point at each other and get pictures together.”
Caroline Mays and Mikaela Ringquist joined the Easter Bonnet Festival for the first time this year and they were taken aback by the sheer volume of participants and spectators. Both women created their own hats, while Mays painted flowers atop her straw hat, Rinquist pinned together fabric creating white and purple Lilies.
“We love going to costume and vintage parties together, we go once or twice a month to various events, and we love crafting,” Ringquest said, “I was expecting more people to be wearing more elaborate hats, but I realized that for some people it’s a little bit outside their comfort zone to do stuff like this.”
Not all hats were just fun and games. Horticulturist Mark Davies, who has been participating in the Easter Bonnet Festival for about six years, tries to incorporate timely themes when creating his hats. This year, Davies wanted to honor the people of Ukraine and bring awareness to the war that is tearing the sovereign Eastern European nation apart.
“I always want to go thematic, but I’ve done some very snarky ones. You know, you really couldn’t be snarky with this. It had to be more from the goodness of your heart. I thought this was the most obvious thing to do,” Davies said, explaining each aspect of his hat.
“Sunflowers are the national flower of Ukraine, and wheat is the national crop of Ukraine, and then so it’s blue and yellow and I’ve got the doves in there. I’m freaked out as to what’s going on over there. As a world citizen we care,” Davies told amNewYork Metro.
The Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival went on until 4pm along Fifth Avenue on 51st Street.