Drive-by parades celebrate birthdays during safer-at-home guidelines |

Drive-by parades celebrate birthdays during safer-at-home guidelines

Police cars escort drive-by parades through neighborhoods to celebrate the birthdays of community members during safer-at-home guidelines.
Courtesy Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons

FRISCO — Throughout the months of stay-at-home and safer-at-home guidelines, parades of cars and first responders have celebrated birthdays from a distance. These parades come at a time when many residents are feeling the strain of social distancing and the inability to celebrate special occasions with their loved ones in person. 

Cars honked as they drove past Anneke Crowe’s residence during a snowstorm April 16 to celebrate the 12th birthday of Crowe’s daughter, Mary Grace. While social distancing guidelines were being put in place at the time, birthday parades were not yet common in the county. The family was inspired by Facebook posts. 

“I thought the parades looked fun and different,” Crowe said. “I texted a bunch of friends and invited them to stop on by.”

“She was completely shocked,” Crowe said about her daughter. “Afterwards, she said she was so overwhelmed and shocked, and she couldn’t believe so many people came to celebrate her.”

Parades are not only fun for those celebrating their birthdays, but they also offer a chance for family and friends to get out of the house and show their loved ones how much they care, even from a safe distance. 

“One of the participants called me and said it was the highlight of their month,” Crowe said. “People were able to just do something normalish, celebrating someone.”

Mary Grace Crowe celebrates her 12th birthday with presents dropped off by family and friends in a drive-by parade April 16.
birthday parade picture 2

On May 15, more 30 cars passed the home of Heidi Clark to celebrate the 13th birthday of her son, Summit. 

While Summit has looked forward to his 13th birthday for a while, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from celebrating with friends and family in person. 

“It was his 13th birthday,” Clark said. “He has been excited for it since he was 8, saying, ‘When you are 13, you are a man.’”

Clark’s neighbors helped organize the parade as a surprise to Summit, and Clark created a Facebook page to invite Summit’s friends and teachers to participate. 

“I actually was super shocked,” Clark said. “We ended up having like 30, 40 cars show up. A lot of them decorated their cars. He did not get the surprise party he had wanted, but this was almost way better.”

Summit, who has Williams syndrome, was especially touched when police cars, ambulances and firetrucks joined the parade to celebrate his birthday. 

“He has always wanted to be a firefighter,” Clark said. “It even meant more to him that they showed up.”

A birthday parade including cars, firetrucks, ambulances and police cars celebrate Summit Clark’s 13 birthday from a distance during safer-at-home guidelines.

Parades involving first responders have not only celebrated the birthdays of locals but also Summit High School’s graduating class of 2020. Processions of cars, ambulances, police cars and firetrucks crawled through Breckenridge on May 21 to commemorate the seniors who were unable to meet for an in-person graduation ceremony. 

“Right now, we are really looking for ways to add value to our community,” said Drew Hoehn, deputy chief of operations at the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District. “… We are just looking for opportunities to be a part of the community and bring positivity.” 

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