Initially, there was some doubt as to whether the swans would be able to emerge from their winter quarters on schedule, as the river is still partly frozen.
However, Jordan Bulbrook with the Stratford Tourism Alliance said organizers felt confident enough about the forecast that the swans were allowed to make their debut.
“If the river was still freezing over, they wouldn't be able to go out, but the weather's warmed up a bit more now, so they can go into the water without it getting too cold,” she said.
Stratford's swans are a popular tourist attraction, delighting visitors to the annual Stratford Festival.
Bulbrook said there are two different species of swans that call the Avon home during the summer months. Mute Swans are white in colour with black or pinkish-grey legs and hail from Europe, while the elegant Black Swans are native to Australia and New Zealand.
The Stratford swans are housed indoors during the winter months and cared for by a team of volunteers, but in the summer enjoy a steady diet of corn thrown into the water by their many admirers.
“They’re a pretty big attraction in the summertime. A lot of people like to go down and see them; they’re really beautiful,” Bulbrook said.
Hundreds of people came out to view the parade and take part in swan-themed activities around the town throughout the weekend.