Parading through a pandemic

Junior celebrates her birthday in a unique way while in quarantine

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photo courtesy of Erin Bedell

Driving past junior Grace Bedell’s house, junior Phoebe Rackliffe waves a sign from the car to celebrate her friend’s birthday. Rackliffe along with others formed a parade past Bedell’s driveway in order to social distance while still making the day special. “It was a fun way to celebrate with Grace while still social distancing,” Rackliffe said. “Grace was excited to see us and she seemed happy that we all decided to do the parade for her.”

Kaitlin Reynolds, Staff Reporter

Most people celebrate their birthdays with friends and family, but for junior Grace Bedell, having a celebration proved to be difficult because of the social limitations caused by COVID-19. 

In the past, Grace has always had an elaborate celebration with all of the people she loves, but due to the coronavirus, she had to spend her birthday at home. As a solution, her friends and family got together to surprise her with a car parade. Grace’s mom made all of the arrangements for everyone to decorate their cars, make signs and wave to her as they drove past her driveway.

“Having the parade during quarantine helped to lift Grace’s spirit since she is a social butterfly and was really bummed that she couldn’t celebrate with friends,” mom Erin Bedell said. “The atmosphere of the parade was so exciting and heartwarming.”

The plan was unannounced to Grace until the big day when all of her friends came to visit, from a distance, that is. A line of cars stretched down the street. Slowly people began to steer past her driveway and say their well-wishes along with singing the classic happy birthday song.

“I feel so appreciative of everyone who joined the parade and made my birthday special despite the fact that we could not be together,” Grace said. “It was truly unexpected and made the day so much more interesting while being stuck at home.”

Participants of the cavalcade decorated their vehicles with posters wishing Grace a happy birthday, vibrant streamers and colorful balloons. Partakers honked their horns with excitement and played her favorite songs from their vehicles. Some even brought along treats such as a cookie cake to make the day special, regardless of the fact that it had to be held in different conditions. 

“She was very surprised and it looked like it meant a lot to her that we all came out to celebrate with her,” junior Cassidy Kugler said. “The environment was super lighthearted and just very happy. We were all shouting happy birthday and waving our posters.”

A few of her friends who could not make it during the scheduled time of the parade still wanted to partake. They held up signs and sent in pictures to wish Grace a happy birthday in a safe and creative way.

“I was upset about missing the parade,” junior Madelynn Szemplenski said. “I felt bad, especially because she couldn’t have a big celebration due to our current situation. I thought of the idea to make a poster for her since I couldn’t drive by and still wanted to do something cute for her.”

Although social distancing has been an adjustment for many, Grace, along with her friends and family, has found a way to keep the tradition of celebrating a special day alive, despite having to make changes to accommodate the safety of everyone.