04/16/2013 02:06 pm ET | Updated Apr 16, 2013

Emancipation Day Parade 2013: Annual Event Marks 151st Anniversary Of The Freeing Of D.C.'s Slaves, With Tight Security (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON -- The D.C. Emancipation Day Parade began at 11 a.m. to a modest and heavily-policed crowd.

The 151st anniversary of the signing of the DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862, which ended slavery in Washington, D.C. nearly nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, is celebrated each year with a prayer breakfast, parade, concert, fireworks and educational programming.

This year's parade went on as scheduled, albeit with an increased security presence after Monday's explosions in Boston.

D.C. government employees and public school students and administrators have the day off to celebrate the holiday. Some of those students and workers enjoyed the Ballou High School Marching Band, Marine Corps Marching Platoon and high-fiving Mayor Vincent Gray.

The crowd grew larger around noon as nearby office workers spent their lunch break along the parade route.

WUSA9, which noted the parade concluded without incident, spoke with attendees about security concerns:

Spectators at Tuesday's parade said they were aware of the Boston bombing but that it didn't stop them from attending the parade. A few noted the police presence that included officers on foot as well as vehicles with flashing lights.

Massachusetts resident Anthony Scibelli, a three-time Boston Marathon runner, was among the spectators. Scibelli said he felt it was important to attend the parade. His wife, Michelle Scibelli, said the Boston bombing was "a nightmare."

Most of the parade route, Pennsylvania Ave NW between 3rd and 14th Streets NW, re-opens at 2 p.m. E Street, NW from 14th to 13th Streets, NW, Pennsylvania Ave, NW from 14th to 12th Streets, NW and 13th Street, NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Ave, NW remain closed until 11 p.m. for the 8:30 p.m. fireworks display.

Last year's 150th anniversary parade had sunny, unseasonably warm weather.

2012 DC Emancipation Parade