The city’s best parade that’s not really a parade is happening on Sunday.
The annual Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival will be shutting down eight blocks of Fifth Avenue in Midtown—from 49th Street up to 57th Street—for hours of leisurely strolling while wearing a hat. That’s right, this “parade” is literally just a crowd of people walking around in hats. And it’s amazing.
The main thing that makes this a can’t-miss afternoon instead of a knock-off Royal Wedding cosplay event? These are not ordinary hats, my friend. The over-the-top chapeaux in the past have included depictions of giant ships, entire villages and even full bridges made out of MetroCards. (That’s one idea for something to do with your old cards once they’re a thing of the past.) You can see some of the best looks from past years here.
The annual tradition was classically immortalized by Irving Berlin (along with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire) in the appropriately titled 1948 musical Easter Parade. (Don’t worry though, there’s no requirement for you to burst into song.) It’s an NYC tradition that dates all the way back to the 1870s.
The procession starts at 10am on Sunday—and lasts for six hours—so head up after your brunch if you want to take in all the whimsical insanity. Or better yet, whip out a glue gun and start working on your own bonkers bonnet stat. Because really, there’s no better way to celebrate spring finally arriving in NYC than spending an afternoon walking around outside without needing to wear your Canada Goose.