Birthdays for 10-year-old Kamryn Brownell have always been something to look forward to. Way back in September, she started thinking about hers on Friday, March 27.

“We had a party planned and we picked out invitations,” said her mom, Michele Lawrence, a Long Beach resident.

But this year, seeing as the entire state of California and much of the nation was on strict stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus, having a typical birthday party just wasn’t possible. So Lawrence heard about an idea from a friend to have people drive by the house and wish the birthday girl well on her special day.

The practice of putting together neighborhood parades on wheels to celebrate birthday parties or other occasions has become a trend in these days of closures and stay-at-home orders.  From drive-by churches and visits with grandparents, people are getting creative with ways to stay in touch yet keep their distance.

In Orange County on Saturday, police officers joined a neighborhood parade for a 6-year-old boy’s birthday.

In Torrance, a group of teachers at Towers Elementary School drove through the neighborhood honking and waving at students making sure to let them know the teachers still cared about them.

Signs read “we miss you” and “we love you.” Another sign taped to the window of a convertible read, “Distant hugs from Ms. Shawna.” The teachers let the parents know by email that they would be driving by at a certain hour and to expect them, said Gloria Commiso, who watched the procession from her window.

“It was the first time since this whole thing started that I actually broke down and cried,” Commiso said. “Not because I was afraid about the virus but I was just overwhelmed at how the virus has made kindness so contagious.”

Other parades, meanwhile, were going virtual such as Disneyland’s Magic Happens parade, which the theme park is now offering on video. 

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