Hats off to Spring!

– written by Hearth Member, Jaclyn Wood

It’s finally springtime! No matter what the sky thinks you can be assured flowers will be blooming and that you’ll find people dressed in their finest strolling down 5th Ave in New York each spring for the Easter Parade.

File Mar 29, 3 58 44 PMI happened to visit New York last month to see this artful event for myself. Coffee in hand and flowers in my hair, I began my day in Brooklyn picking up some local bagels as colorful as the neighborhood graffiti. My rainbow souvenirs I took the train to Grand Central Station and were greeted by the bold blue ceiling. I took a moment to stare at the twinkling constellations overhead before eagerly making my way through the busy streets to 5th Ave for the Easter Parade.

The tradition began in the mid 1800s and was inspired by the beautiful gothic churches on the avenue. The magnificent buildings would decorate with lavish Easter flower displays. Growing more elaborate each year they became an example of taste and style that influenced how the congregation dressed. Of course they wanted their fabulous outfits to be seen so they congregated outside after the service for a nice holiday stroll down the avenue. The tradition continues to this day and of course has been taken to a whole new level.

I was prepared for the unexpected since my knowledge of the event is based on the 1948 film ‘Easter Parade‘ with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. I knew I was in the right place when I saw the street closed off and overrun with people. I headed toward the flowers popping out above the crowd that was the first group of well donned hats. I saw everything from peep marshmallow hats to spectacular floral arrangements, and hats so large they had to be held up and were blowing bubbles into the crowd. Some were wondrously bizarre and others so accurately vintage it gave me hope Fred Astaire may come dancing around the corner. Not everyone that joined had a hat or outfit; many came to watch and document the spectacle. The crowd parted for the dressed groups as made they’re way through stopping periodically for photoshoots.

When I reached the end of the parade at the beginning of Central Park I was exhilarated by the delight of the crowd. It’s such a lovely way to honor the day and welcome spring. Of course it helped the weather was agreeable that day shining down on a blooming Central Park. It is a unique experience to see people gathering and connecting over their fine millinery and original creations alike. New York’s Easter Parade happens to be the most famous, and I recommend experiencing it if you can. But parades can also be held in other cities, and of course you can have your own parade anywhere you are on Easter by putting on your best self and taking an afternoon stroll. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. 🙂

Stop by Maker Mondays to talk to Jaclyn about the 5th Avenue Easter Parade!

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