Drive-by celebrations new way to mark milestones during COVID-19
WINGHAM, ONT. -- In the world of physical distancing, typical in-person birthday and anniversary parties are taboo.
Inspired by first responder appreciation parades outside of hospitals, birthday celebrations have turned to four wheels.
Birthdays, births and wedding anniversaries are now being marked by ‘drive-by’ celebrations featuring a long line of friends and family honking and playing music outside of people’s homes.
That’s what happened to Bill and Ruby McWhinney last week.
The couple, who lives near Dungannon, were going to rent a hall and gather with their neighbours to mark their 60th wedding anniversary. Instead, the neighbours and friends came to them, with a 'drive-by' celebration.
“All at once I heard horns honking, and I looked outside and saw a gravel truck followed by a bunch of other vehicles, honking and with signs on them,” says Ruby. “They all stopped one by one and we stood back six feet and talked to them as they were going by. It was so nice to see everyone because I haven’t been out for five weeks, so it was a real nice surprise."
On Monday, Drace McTeer of Paisley was lured outside by his parents for what he thought was going to be a family picture. Instead, police cars, fire trucks, along with friends and family, paraded by his house to mark his ninth birthday.
“I felt really nervous at first because I didn’t know what was going on, and then when they got down the hill, and said happy birthday, I was like, oh it’s family and friends,” says Drace.
McTeer’s mother Jolene, says “We didn’t have to do a whole lot. Everybody was willing to help out and make his day special.”
Thousands of 'drive-by' celebrations are happening across Canada every day, and likely will be until social distancing regulations are loosened.