All About the Steu­ben Pa­ra­de

Amerika Woche - - Steuben Parade - The Aim and Pur­po­se of the Pa­ra­de The First Pa­ra­de The Pa­ra­de Or­ga­niza­t­i­on & Fi­nan­cing The Corn­flower

Each ye­ar on the third weekend of Sep­tem­ber, The Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Steu­ben Pa­ra­de is held on Man­hat­tan’s fa­mous Fifth Ave­nue. The Pa­ra­de is or­ga­ni­zed by the Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Steu­ben Pa­ra­de Com­mit­tee in a con­cer­ted ef­fort bet­ween ma­ny Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Or­ga­niza­t­i­ons.

The aim and pur­po­se of the Pa­ra­de is to ce­le­bra­te the great ro­le play­ed by Ger­ma­nic im­mi­grants in the de­ve­lop­ment of the Uni­ted Sta­tes. The Pa­ra­de in­stills in all Ame­ri­cans with roots from Ger­man spea­king coun­tries a deep-roo­ted sen­se of pri­de and ac­com­plish­ment.

The most re­cent cen­sus re­veals that one in four Ame­ri­cans is of Ger­ma­nic de­scent. So­me fa­mous Ger­man Ame­ri­cans in­clu­de: Pe­ter Zen­ger, Fa­ther of the Free­dom of the Press; Al­bert Ein­stein, Sci­en­tist; John Roeb­ling, Buil­der of the Brook­lyn Bridge; Wer­ner von Braun, America’s First Space Pioneer!

Le­a­ders in the Ger­man-Ame­ri­can com­mu­ni­ty we­re awa­re that ma­ny im­mi­grant groups in the Me­tro­po­li­tan area ex­pres­sed their pri­de and he­ri­ta­ge with an an­nu­al pa­ra­de. The first ever Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Steu­ben Pa­ra­de was held in 1957 in the pre­do­mi­nant­ly Ger­man-Ame­ri­can neigh­borhood of Rid­ge­wood, Queens. The en­thu­si­asm was so overw­hel­ming that on Sep­tem­ber 20, 1958, just one ye­ar la­ter, the Pa­ra­de was mo­ved from Myrt­le Ave­nue to its cur­rent lo­ca­ti­on on Fifth Ave­nue in Man­hat­tan.

The first New York Ci­ty Pa­ra­de las­ted two hours, and in­clu­ded floats, bands, and mar­chers from the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty. To­day’s Pa­ra­de is ful­ly in­ter­na­tio­nal, over twen­ty groups from over­seas fly to New York ex­clu­si­ve­ly to at­tend the Pa­ra­de. Mar­chers from all over the coun­try, plus ci­vic le­a­ders, sin­gers, dan­cers and so­ci­al or­ga­niza­t­i­ons en­thu­si­as­ti­cal­ly par­ti­ci­pa­te each ye­ar!

For over 30 ye­ars the Pa­ra­de was cal­led The Steu­ben Pa­ra­de, na­med af­ter Ge­ne­ral Fred­rick Wil­helm von Steu­ben, a pa­tri­ot of the Ame­ri­can Re­vo­lu­tio­na­ry War, who next to Ge­or­ge Wa­shing­ton was in­stru­men­tal in achie­ving vic­to­ry for the Con­ti­nen­tal Ar­my.

In Ge­ne­ral von Steu­ben’s ho­nor, the Pa­ra­de is usual­ly set on the first Sa­tur­day fol­lo­wing his bir­th­day of Sep­tem­ber 17th. For the thir­ty-fourth an­nu­al Pa­ra­de, the na­me was chan­ged to “The Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Steu­ben Pa­ra­de” in or­der to iden­ti­fy it mo­re clo­se­ly with the Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Com­mu­ni­ty. The pa­ra­de is now held on the third Sa­tur­day is Sep­tem­ber.

The con­ti­nued suc­cess of the Pa­ra­de is due to the de­di­ca­ti­on and com­mit­ment of the ma­ny pri­va­te ci­ti­zens and af­fi­lia­ted or­ga­niza­t­i­ons that ma­ke up the Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Com­mu­ni­ty in the tri-sta­te area. Par­ti­ci­pants in­clu­de: ci­vic, re­li­gious, cha­ri­ta­ble, so­ci­al and cul­tu­ral groups; such as sin­ging so­cie­ties, sports clubs, fra­ter­nal or­ders, tra­de uni­ons, folk­lo­re and dan­ce groups. In ad­di­ti­on, ma­ny groups and bands from Ger­man spea­king coun­tries, with thousands of vi­si­tors, are attrac­ted to the New York Pa­ra­de to pro­mo­te the spi­rit of Ger­manA­me­ri­can fri­endship.

The Pa­ra­de is fi­nan­ced ent­i­re­ly by the Ger­man-Ame­ri­can com­mu­ni­ty through per­so­nal do­na­ti­ons, cor­po­ra­te cont­ri­bu­ti­ons, the sa­le of Corn­flowers and re­ce­ipts from jour­nals and so­ci­al func­tions. The Pa­ra­de Com­mit­tee is a Non-Pro­fit Or­ga­niza­t­i­on, and all mo­nies do­na­ted are tax de­duc­ti­ble and so­le­ly used to fi­nan­ce the sta­ging of the Pa­ra­de.

The Corn­flower, the flo­ral em­blem of the Ger­manA­me­ri­can Steu­ben Pa­ra­de, has be­en ac­cep­ted as an eth­nic sym­bol of the Ger­man-Ame­ri­can Com­mu­ni­ty. The idea of such an as­so­cia­ti­on goes back be­fo­re the in­cep­ti­on of the Pa­ra­de. The simp­le flower is found in the grain fiel­ds throughout cen­tral Eu­ro­pe, ming­led with the ri­pe­n­ing grain, si­de by si­de with the red pop­py, and brigh­tens the coun­try-si­de ever­yw­he­re throughout the sum­mer. The be­au­ty of this pu­re blue flower sym­bo­li­zes the truth, loyal­ty and de­vo­ti­on that Ger­man-Ame­ri­cans hold for their Ame­ri­can home­land. This shade of blue is al­so re­pre­sen­ted in our own Ame­ri­can Flag, the Star Span­g­led Ban­ner.

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