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The 51st annual German American Steuben Parade was a huge success
Over 100,000 people turned out to watch more than 2,000 marchers from Germany and the United States at this year's 51st German-American Steuben Parade in New York.
The day began at 7am with two bands from Germany showcasing their talents on CBS The Early show. It was a spectacular picture, the green and white band from the Tambourcorps Grün-Weiß Bonn Oberkassel and the red and blue of the Musikcorps Bickenbach, the lead band of the parade.
For most participants the day started with a church service at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The costumes presented a colorful contrast to the historic walls and made many heads turn when these groups made their way up to the start of the parade at 63rd Street.
By noon the crowds had lined 5th Avenue and were cheering the 21 groups from Germany and 27 floats coming up the parade route along Central Park. All three Grand Marshals received whistles and started the parade with a good and loud blow. While marching, Grand Marshal and actor Ralf Möller was a favorite with the crowds, while Grand Marshal Col. Gail Halvorsen enjoyed walking arm in arm with his wife, daughter and granddaughters. The third, Duncan Niederauer, used the time to spend some quality time with his family. As CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, his has a very busy life at the moment.
Some of the most memorable floats were four sponsored by the official German partner Bundesland (state) Hessen, one with five singing Elvises on it, because Elvis was stationed in Hessen during his time with the Army. Two floats commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Berlin airlift also honored Grand Marshal Col. Gail Halvorsen, a former Air Force airlift pilot who gained fame as the "Candy Bomber".
This was the first of several anniversaries honored during the parade. A float dedicated to this year's 125th birthday of the Brooklyn Bridge featured a direct descendant of its builder August Roebling; and every German-American was proud of the 400th anniversary of the first Germans coming to the new Heimat.
But it was not just history on display during the parade; many in the crowd including MC Linda Schmidt from Fox 5 News were in awe of the brand-new cars that sponsor Mercedes-Benz had sent to the Parade.
As the parade continued up 5th Avenue, people began arriving at the Friendship Party held in Central Park. After marching, some of the bands performed while guests ate Bratwurst and enjoyed German beer. As in previous years, New York's biggest one-day Oktoberfest sold out very quickly.
General Chairman Lars Halter was very happy with the outcome of this day: "The parade was a huge success and I really want to thank every one of the people on my team. I could not have done it without them and I think we have managed to create another unforgettable day for many New Yorkers and all the guests who traveled to this great city to celebrate the German-American friendship with us."
Pictures be Charles Ruppman
More pictures will soon be available on this website or by Brian Lin.