Group in Rosemount organizes more than 70 parades
During the COVID-19 pandemic, people are missing out on a lot of things that make them happy.
Due to social distancing guidelines, birthday party guest lists have been extremely limited.
But several Rosemount residents hope to make their neighbors’ special days a little brighter without getting out of their vehicles.
Samantha Hutter and Shannon Killen have organized Rosemount Birthday Parades, a public Facebook group used to coordinate the events.
The parades started with just a few cars and decorations but now have blocks of cars lined up.
They’ve put on more than 70 parades since March 22.
It all started in Rosemount, but they’ve since expanded to Farmington, Inver Grove Heights, Eagan, Apple Valley and Lakeville.
“(Volunteers) show up to the ones they can,” Hutter said. “We show up early to decorate our cars. Then we take off past the birthday house honking our horns, ringing cow bells, yelling happy birthday, playing party music and throwing candy. We circle past the house twice and save gift giving for last.”
People will leave presents and the handmade poster boards at the end of in the driveway following the parade.
It may just be a 10-minute parade, but the joy lasts for hours.
What’s been the reaction?
“Smiles! Smiles! Smiles! Complete happiness,” Hutter said. “From tears of joy from parents, to the smiles on people’s faces as they decorate their cars, family bonding time, laughs, and most of these kids are just beaming with joy. Some saying it’s better than a party and presents, and it’s their best birthday they ever had.”
The best parades are often the surprises.
“We have done parades for a lot of special individuals, adults and children of all ages,” Hutter said. “Some have disabilities and we have no idea how they will react. We accommodate if we have to. We have done parades with no horns due to a noise sensitivity. We have even done parades for a family who fosters and just adopted. That was special to us because they want to give these children a stable loving home. We have done a parade for step parents, and step children and those parades mean a lot to us because step people are most important.”
People only have so many birthdays.
“We have done sweet 16, 21 and even bigger milestones like 50 and 60 years,” Hutter said. “We have done parades for Easter for a senior home and more. Just give us a reason to have a parade and we will come. We do have some graduation parades coming up.”
The group often does several parades a day. There’s a schedule on the group’s page.
People can send messages to request a parade, and Hutter organizes the event.
They’d love to add to the parade line.
“If you have spare time, come for one parade and see what all the excitement is about,” Hutter said. “Donate gas cards or party supplies or candy. But we think the most important part of helping us is showing up and being a part of our parade. We wouldn’t be much of a parade without you.”