Man in an elaborate colorful hat resembling a television screen with rabbit ears coming out of it holding a sign saying "Happy Easter!" at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

A Tip Of The Hat: The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Have you ever wondered how we came up with the name of our blog, Mad Hatters NYC? We actually drew inspiration from a number of sources, the most obvious one being Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. We’re not the only ones to draw a parallel between New York City and Carroll’s land of magic and make-believe. But one day a year, the comparison takes on a life on its own. During the New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, a large group of Mad Hatters descends on Fifth Avenue and the world of fantasy and reality collide.

Whether New Yorkers are transforming themselves into mythical creatures or costuming their pets, the volume is always turned up to the max. Outfits that wowed ranged from fully handcrafted ensembles to witty, choreographed themes. Mad Hatters of every age proudly strutted their stuff in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the rest of the world was there to enjoy it. Here are some of the creative chapeaus that we came across:


Birds of a Feather

Girl wearing gold dress, pink faux fur shawl, peacock hat and peacock purse at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Profile of a lady with an elaborate hat topped with a bird in a birdcage and cascading colorful plumage at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Flower girls

Girl in a bright red coat with floral hat and flowers cascading down the coat at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Profile of a girl with an elaborate colorful floral hat at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Fur-rocious

Girl in colorful dress and bonnet holding her dog and guy in colorful hat holding two chihuahuas wearing hats at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
A tri-pup extravaganza
Older gentleman with a cane, lady in a top hat with a feather wearing an elegant dress holding goat, man carrying a tote bag with another goat in it and two dogs sitting at their feet at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Two dogs and two goats walk into a bar…

Standalone standouts

Girl with blue hair wearing a black hat topped by a gold ship and decorated with a sun and moon at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Sailing off into the horizon
Two men wearing hats shaped like spider webs with giant spiders hanging from them at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
What a tangled web we weave



Couple wearing hats of elongated heads also wearing hats at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Two-faced
Two women wearing elaborate hats and golden shimmery outfits at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Showing Oscar how it’s done

Peeps in Peeps, the unofficial sponsor of the day

Family wearing bright-colored outfits and hats decorated with Peeps candy at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Two ladies facing opposite direction in matching hats and robes carrying baskets shaped like Peeps candy with dolls in them at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Two ladies dressed in pink and yellow with hats shaped like rabbits and purses shaped like Peeps candy at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Tips for a successful outing

If you plan on attending the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, here are some tips that might be helpful:

Know where to go! Note that there isn’t an official parade or parade route. Start at Rockefeller Center so you can enjoy the seasonal Easter decorations then make your way to St.Patrick’s Cathedral where the celebration culminates and most of the festival goers spend their time.

Easter decoration in Rockefeller Center of a giant bunny balancing a colorful egg made completely of flowers at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

St Patrick's Cathedral with young girl being carried on her father's shoulders in front of it at the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Be a considerate spectator! As always, the creative Mad Hatters we came across graciously posed for numerous photographs. To all of you, we tip our hats. But as a spectator, please remember to be aware of your surroundings and also be considerate of others–everyone wants that perfect snap. Take your picture then step aside and allow someone else to do the same. Please also remember that St. Patrick’s Cathedral is an active place of worship and Easter mass is conducted throughout the day.

Dress in your Easter best! While you may not have a decorated hat to parade about in, you can still join in the festivities by putting on your best dress and hat. They make for fun pictures!

Check out our prior post on the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival for additional costumes and to see if you can find recurring themes!

So, did you have a favorite?


Pair it with:

Patisserie Chanson

Patisserie Chanson's entrance via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Large selection of pastries including kouign amanns and croissants via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Chocolate pastry topped with an orange macaron via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Easter is the holiday that seems to have the unfair advantage of being associated with two of my favorite things: chocolate and brunch. I think that somehow makes me an Easter aficionado, albeit a self-professed one. There are many places in the city where you can find good chocolate and a good brunch. But Chanson is somewhere you can find both. As soon as you enter, rows and rows of sweet treats tempt you from glass cases. We’ve never been disappointed with the creative French pastries–the chocolate ones in particular. But you can also sit down in the cafe and enjoy a weekend brunch with options like fluffy omelettes and decadent French Toast. And if you’re a Mad Hatter? They serve an afternoon tea here too.

Location:
20 W 23rd St

Hours:
Mon – Fri 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sat 9:00 am – 8.00 pm
Sun 10:00 am -6:00 pm

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Parade attendees dressed up with creative hats and outfits with text overlay New York City Easter Parade.

– L.

 

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12 Comments on "A Tip Of The Hat: The New York City Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival"

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Guest

We couldn’t make it to the Easter Parade, but we didn’t have to…You brought it to us! Loved the photos of all the costumes and hats. And the pastries looked really good!

JAM
Guest

Loved your photos!

Lauren
Guest

You took some beautiful, vibrant photos – just lovely! I know our friend Mary Lane over at New York Cliche is also a huge fan of the Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival – I hope to make it next year! Also great to know that it’s not an official “parade,” I assumed it would’ve been similar to the city’s other parades where you’re fighting to get a spot to see. This makes it sound so much nicer! Hope you guys had a great Easter 🙂
P.S. You did NOT back down from that pun, LOVE it hahaha 😉

Cynthia | Adventuring Woman
Guest

This looks like so much fun! I’m glad I could participate vicariously through your fabulous photos. I wonder if the Peeps will still be good to eat after they’ve been a hat? I know a number of people who like their Peeps stale. I’d prefer to go over and eat the pastries at Chanson!

Dippy Dotty Girl
Guest

OMG, I really did miss out! If only for bumping into the dog and goat duo 😉 Thank you for this window into the parade. I am all shades of green.