Easter Parade returns to New York City with extravagant bonnets after a 2 year COVID hiatus

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The annual Easter parade and bonnet festival made a triumphant return to New York City this Sunday.

The celebration of Spring and life returning to the city along with the pomp and circumstance we've all come to love.

"I think this is the year of the butterfly, where we all want to take flight, live our lives, be free, be beautiful, happy, and joyous," parade participant Patricia said sporting a butterfly embellished bonnet.

Hundreds gathered on Fifth Avenue for the festivities that date back to the 1870s.



This year was extra special since organizers had to cancel the parade for the past two years due to COVID.

"We kind of did a crazy one at home in 2020 where we took whatever craft supplies we had at home and took pictures," participant Barry Brown said. "Last year we did via zoom, and here we are today, great to be back."

Brown is part of a large group that comes every year that coordinates their hats to a specific theme. This year the group went with a Disney theme.

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Some participants go all out with their Easter bonnet designs. Like Christian Fontenot who's topper was decked out with Cinderella dolls and weighed about 20 pounds!

"Once you have the concept you put together and world like a elf very quickly," Fontenot said.

Some bonnets are whimsical, others more traditional, but everyone brought their best bonnets this year.

One particular bonnet creation served as a reminder that while we are celebrating here, that's the case in other parts of the world.

Mark Davies's bonnet was a nod to the people of Ukraine. It featured sunflowers, and touches of blue along with wheat and a dove incorporated into the design.

"I've done some very snarky ones but you couldn't do this one snarky, had to be more good to the heart," Davies said.

With so many things still just not quite right in the world, this parade is that much-needed moment of levity and a chance to simply smile.

"I love the vibe, I love the people, Happy Easter to everybody," participant Marie Pierre said.

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