(JTA) — Thousands of New Yorkers participated in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade, which marched up Fifth Avenue amid a sea of blue-and-white flags.

The crowd was estimated at about 30,000 for the parade that was led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, accompanied by Israeli Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, and Israel’s Consul General in New York Ido Aharoni.

Elected officials and politicians from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were in attendance as well as congressmen who made the trip from Washington.

The annual event, which started in 1964, is held to mark the founding of the state of Israel. It is regarded as the world’s largest celebration of Israel Independence Day; the event was formerly called the Salute to Israel parade.