Organizers are gearing up for the 54th Annual African American Day Parade set for Sunday, Sept. 17 in Harlem. Before you head to the festivities, here are some things you need to know.
1. This is the first African American Day Parade since the passing of parade founder Abe Snyder.
This year’s African American Day Parade takes on special meaning. It is the first parade since the passing of founder Abraham L. Snyder, who died in February at age 87. The African American Day Parade was first held in 1969 and was also started by Livingston Wingate and Conrad Peters along with 11 other community organizers. Founding organizers wanted “the community to come together and celebrate Black American heritage, talents and accomplishments, while also honoring our ancestors.”
2. Be sure to catch the Pre-Parade Show.
Before the parade starts there will be a Pre-Parade Show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the reviewing stand at West 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. The show will feature performances by Marima Diop from Broadway’s “The Lion King”, Walter Russell III from Broadway’s “MJ the Musical,” singer/songwriter and rapper Javier Gooden, R&B singer Julia Robertson, the Uptown Dance Academy and others.
3. Culture takes the spotlight for this year’s theme.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Celebrating African American Culture” honoring individuals and organizations that have made key cultural contributions to the African American community.
4. The grand marshals have made major contributions to African-American culture.
Several cultural icons are serving as this year’s grand marshals. Among them are TV, radio host, author and actress Bevy Smith, musician and entrepreneur Ashley Kieko, Schomburg Center Director Joy Bivins and Founder and CEO of Ruff Ryders, Inc. Joaquin Dean.
5. The parade will host the first “Get Involved Community Literacy, Health & Celebration of Culture.”
This year the African American Day Parade is hosting the first “Get Involved Community Literacy, Health & Celebration of Culture” from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Harlem State Office Building Plaza. The event will feature games, giveaways, a health panel, a tribute to hip-hop and a dance battle.
6. Wave at the politicians when you see them.
Several politicians will be marching in the parade. Expect to see Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, State Attorney General Letitia James along with several city and state politicians. With the General Election in November, some candidates will be walking the parade route.
7. Get there early.
The parade kicks off at 1p.m. and starts at 111th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and heads up to 137th Street. It’s best to secure your spot early before the parade starts so you can see.
8. You’ll see your family, friends and neighbors IN the parade.
Several community and national organizations along with churches, labor unions, colleges, sororities and fraternities are participating in the parade. So, if you see someone you know walking the route, give them a shout!
9. The weather is supposed to be nice.
Sunday’s forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies with a high near 80. Be sure to bring water and wear light clothing.
10. Have fun!
The African-American Day Parade is a day where the community can come together for celebration and pride for our culture. Bring your family, see old friends and let’s make this the best parade ever!