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A parade with a touch of pizazz

Cindy Sileo didn't find out about last year's Easter Bonnet Parade in the Elmwood Village until she saw the pictures after the fact.

"It looked so great to see the different hats and great creativity," the Amherst resident said.

She wasn't about to let this year's parade pass her by.

"I decided to come on down and join in the fun," said Sileo, who was among as many as 150 people who walked along Elmwood Avenue on Sunday afternoon in the second Easter Bonnet Parade.

"This is such a great event," she said, that she decided she should make it an annual trek.

That kind of talk was music to the ears of organizers, including Ernie Torres.

"It's the second year. It will take a little time to grow," Torres said.

Lots of sunshine and little wind bolstered the parade, which started at Unitarian Universalist Church on Elmwood Avenue and continued up the street to Lafayette Presbyterian Church, where an Easter egg hunt was held. The parade then went to St. John's-Grace Episcopal Church, where it ended with an awards ceremony.

The inspiration for the parade came from a couple of Torres' neighbors, who are from New York City and regularly attended the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival there. When local organizers heard the idea, they started planning immediately.

"Elmwood Village is so creative, we thought it would be a great fit," Torres said.

Co-organizer Kathy Lynch called it a "fun event to attract people to Elmwood and to get residents involved."

"We can all work together to do a low-cost event," Lynch said.

Clarence residents Bill and Pauline Janish also made the trip to Buffalo. It was their second time there, but the first time they donned Easter bonnets.

"We came last year and saw it was a fun thing. You have something here we don't have: sidewalks," Bill Janish quipped.

The theme of their hats was Elmo fishing for Nemo. Pauline wore the Elmo hat, which was equipped with a fishing pole. Her husband wore the Nemo hat. He created both toppers.

"I went in the basement, and the creative juices started flowing," he said.

Kris Sokolofsky, who brought along her 3-year-old son, Josiah Walker, wore a hat with so many flowers it looked like a bouquet.

"I just love flowers. I think they represent spring," she said.

It was the first time the Buffalo mother and son participated in the event. Josiah designed his own hat with a different Easter theme.

"He insisted on bunnies. He wanted nothing to do with flowers," Sokolofsky said. He also added Easter eggs.

Even Nosy, a goldendoodle dog, joined the fun with a colorful Easter bow around his neck for the event. Nosy's owner, Madonna Coleman-Petrik, was decked out from head to toe in Easter gear as the parade leader. Even her tricycle was decorated for Easter.

No wonder Coleman-Petrik won the award for most creative last year.

email: dswilliams@buffnews.com