Fifth Avenue will turn blue and white on Sunday, June 1, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., as more than 30 floats with musical performers, 15 marching bands, and 35,000 marchers entertain hundreds of thousands of spectators for the largest celebration of Israel in the world, the annual Celebrate Israel Parade.
This year marks the 50th and Golden Anniversary of what has become one of the largest parades in New York City, growing each year in attendance and excitement since its founding in 1964. The parade is the marquee event of The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) Celebrate Israel Initiative—a project largely sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, Jewish Communal Fund, and Consulate-General of Israel in New York—that celebrates the positive impact the Jewish and democratic state of Israel has on the lives of people in New York and around the world. This year’s Grand Marshal is Robert Benrimon, founder of Skyframe Inc.
“It’s a joy to be able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the parade and see throngs of supporters of Israel from across the metropolitan area and beyond come together,” JCRC-NY executive vice president and CEO Michael Miller said. “We are so excited for our newest additions which we hope will draw an even larger crowd as we all stand to support Israel.”
This year, the parade is going to “lift off” by featuring the Israeli nonprofit organization SpaceIL, which is working to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon as part of the international Google Lunar XPrize competition in 2015. SpaceIL is building the “smallest, smartest lunar spacecraft ever” (SpaceIL.com), and through its mission, SpaceIL aspires to create a new “Apollo effect” to inspire the next generation to think differently about science, technology, engineering, and math. Also for this year’s 50th anniversary parade, the US IL Flying Club, an informal gathering of pilots and aviation fans from the U.S. and Israel, will be doing a flyover saluting the parade.
More than 200 organizations are scheduled to march along Fifth Avenue, from 57th Street to 74th Street, including groups of rollerbladers, motorcyclists, dance groups, and juggling clowns.
The 2014 creative theme for marching groups and floats is “50 Reasons to Celebrate Israel.” Based upon the theme, each group works with parade staff to develop a presentation of colorful banners, costumes, and props related to the theme in some way.
“Year after year, the parade never ceases to be a thrilling experience, bringing the tenacious spirit of Israel to the streets of New York. I feel privileged to be a part of the 50th-anniversary festivities as it will be one of the greatest parades yet,” Miller added.
Prior to the kickoff of the parade, the annual four-mile Celebrate Israel Run will begin at 8:00 a.m. in Central Park, where more than 6,000 runners will race through a course designed to represent a run through Israel, as well as a festival featuring Israeli music, snacks, and more. Returning this year, a kids’ run for those aged 2 through 12 beginning at 9:30 a.m. will take place simultaneously. To register, please visit NYRR.org.
For the fourth year in a row, the parade will be televised live by FOX affiliate WWOR-TV My9 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. and streamed online at celebrateisraelny.org, so Israelis and Israel supporters throughout the world can watch.
This year’s 50th anniversary parade also opens up new sponsorship opportunities for those wishing to be part of one of the largest parades in the world. Please visit http://celebrateisraelny.org/parade/sponsorship/ to find out how your organization can be a sponsor. And for information on participating in the parade as a group, please visit http://celebrateisraelny.org/parade/registration/.
For the latest information on the 50th-anniversary parade, please visit celebrateisraelny.org, follow on Twitter @celebrateisrael, or visit the Facebook page “Celebrate Israel Parade.” v