Ray Carlson

Six-year-old Ray Carlson celebrated his birthday surrounded by family on March 22, but was forced to cancel his birthday party with friends due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, so his mom is reaching out to the community to participate in a parade past their home Friday, March 27.Photo submitted

Instead of blowing out birthday candles while surrounded by friends helping him to celebrate the big day, six-year-old Ray Carlson, like many others, had to cancel his party due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s party was set to be a fun one, bowling with friends at Chucker’s in Rush City was the initial plan.

“Ray had one other friend birthday party, just a few friends from preschool over for a couple of hours of cake, games and presents,” said his mom Sharon. “This year was going to be different in Ray’s plan. He finally started to grasp the whole birthday party concept after participating in some of his sibling’s birthday parties. His sister got to celebrate her birthday in February at the trampoline park.

“After attending his little friend’s birthday party at the bowling alley, he had his sights set on a bowling party at Chucker’s in Rush City,” Sharon added.

On Ray’s actual birthday he enjoyed a meal with family and gifts.

“We, of course, celebrated with a family dinner of Ray’s choice along with cake and presents on his actual birthday,” Sharon said. “Ray was a champ handling the family birthday celebration, he’s always truly grateful for the little things. Last night at bedtime though, he told me he was still sad though because he wouldn’t get to do his friend birthday party.”

Despite the bad news of a canceled party, Sharon is still trying to keep Ray’s birthday special, and in order to do so she’s looking to friends, family and the community for help.

“I woke up this morning about 4 a.m. with an immediate thought of how we might be able to make this right for him, get to invite some folks to make Ray feel special and still keep compliant with social distancing and self-isolation for our protection as well as those who might join us - a parade. Just invite folks to drive by and give us a honk or show Ray a sign maybe,” Sharon added.

In order to gather the community for the parade Sharon took to Facebook, created an event and asked anyone in the area to help keep Ray’s birthday special.

The details on the event page read, “Ray’s 6th Birthday was yesterday and we had a nice family home birthday celebration for him. He’s still sad because he couldn’t have a party and do something fun with his friends. So here’s where you all come into play......on Friday evening we’ll play out in our driveway and see how many people drive by to honk, wave a HBD sign, play some music, have some fun within social distancing guidelines and safe motor vehicle practices! No presents needed and you know you want to get out of the house for a little drive!! PM me for the address! Thank you!”

According to Sharon, the family will plan on playing outside their home, located at 51470 Rush Lake Trail in Rush City, from 5-7 p.m. Friday evening, March 27.

“Ray doesn’t know about this plan yet, it’s a surprise. When he used to get off the bus from preschool, he would find a small pile-up of cars waiting behind the bus because he took a little long to get off the bus. I would often tell Ray to look back and wave at his own parade celebrating him coming home from school. He loved it. That made for an easy and natural parade idea to be born for this occasion,” Sharon said.

For more information on the event follow Ray’s 6th Birthday Party Parade on Facebook.

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