The German American Steuben Parade is held annually on the third Saturday in September. It was founded in 1957 by German immigrants and German Americans—one of the largest ancestral groups living in the United States. The parade was named after General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Prussian born General who served with George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Von Steuben is still regarded as one of the most influential German-Americans for his contributions to America’s fight for independence; his training of the young American troops helped achieve victory against the British.
In April 1956, the German American Parade was first held in Ridgewood, Queens, on the 50th Anniversary of the Brooklyn Boys and Girls Chorus. Being a weekend celebration it began with a concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and concluded the following day with the Parade down Myrtle Avenue. It ended with a gala celebration at Schwaben Hall on Knickerbocker Avenue. The outpouring of support for this event from many clubs and businesses who participated, inspired the idea for a parade celebrating German culture to be held annually in New York City.
On Saturday, September 17, 2016, the German American Steuben Parade will proudly celebrate its 59th year with Grand Marshal Ambassador Peter Wittig. The parade will feature over 20 marching groups from Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as various cultural groups from the United States.
While the German American Steuben Parade itself is held on the 3rd Saturday in September, there are other festivities that take place all weekend throughout NYC. The Friday before the parade, the music and costume groups from overseas are invited to a warm NYC Greeting at Foley Square by City Hall. On the eve of the parade, a black tie gala benefit with silent auction is hosted by the Steuben Parade Committee as a fundraiser for the parade. This year the event will take place on Friday evening Sept. 16 at “The Lighthouse” at Chelsea Piers. Tickets cost $195 per person and are available for purchase on the website at www.germanparadenyc.org. Generous parade supporters such as Neue Galerie, FREY WILLE, Villeroy & Boch, Junghans Watches and others have donated sought after gifts to the silent auction, a highlight of the evening.
To this day, the Steuben Parade is still considered one of the most colorful parades in New York City, thanks to our dynamic floats, and colorful cultural displays.