Henri David leads 84th Easter Promenade down South Street
Easter paraders will strut to the beat of Phillys only LGBT marching band
THE ONLY THING Henri David would tell the Daily News about the hat he'll wear when he leads Sunday's 84th Easter Promenade down South Street is that it won't be 6 feet tall.
"I once wore a 6-footer and it collapsed midway through the show," David said. "So we're not going to go there anymore."
Instead, David's eye-popping high-rise will top out at a mere 4 feet and, if history serves, will look like he's wearing an Easter storefront display on his head.
"I tend to gild the lily," David admitted.
He has been emceeing the Easter Promenade since the 1980s in Rittenhouse Square, before the city became too cash-strapped to fund it.
When South Street Headhouse District merchants took over sponsorship and moved the Easter Sunday spectacular to their neck of town, David and his hats and his pastel pizzazz came, too.
The free parade features the Easter Bunny leading the crowd in the Bunny Hop and live music by the Philadelphia Freedom Band - the city's only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender marching band.
Prizes include best-dressed Little Girl and Little Boy (2-5 years old), Young Girl and Young Boy (6-12), Teen Girl and Teen Boy (13-19), Young Woman and Young Man (20-plus), Family and Pet, as well as Best Easter Bonnet and Best South Street Razzle Dazzle.
"We created the South Street Razzle Dazzle category," David said, "because men were showing up dressed as women, and women were dressed as men, and one woman was dressed as an Easter basket, and we didn't have a category for them. Now, we do."
David said he gets a big kick out of the best-dressed pet contest.
"One year, a lady brought a little red wagon decorated like an Easter basket and filled with puppies," he said. "People have dressed up their turtle and their rabbit and their lizard, even though reptiles are not fond of wearing clothing."
Most of the pet entrants are dogs, David said, because cats don't do costumes.
David said he puts 30 hours into creating his hat and Easter ensemble but does not involve himself as much as he used to in the stress of parade planning.
"I used to go to meetings and holler at them and yell at them," David said, laughing. "I'm a pain. But I'm at a point in my life where I don't go to meetings because it makes me crazy."
Instead, David said, he told the parade planners, "Just give me a microphone on Easter Sunday and I will be master of ceremonies and everything will be fine and then I will disappear. I might leave a sequin on the ground.
"I've done a thousand of these," he said. "So don't worry."