Coronavirus: ‘Birthday parades’ replacing parties to make Okanagan kids feel special

It’s a fact of life throughout the nation: Young families having to self-isolate to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

An unwanted byproduct of having to stay at home, though, are cancelled birthday parties.

However, some parents are getting creative to make sure that no matter what, their kids still feel special.

One Okanagan parent, Jessica Kreb, said not having a birthday party for her son, Nixon, was hard news for him.

“We had to cancel his birthday party with friends, we had to cancel our family dinner tonight and that’s hard,” said Jessica. “I mean he is only six.”

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When the birthday parade rolled by, she said “this was a really cool way to mark his sixth birthday. It may be hailing, but that was the coolest thing I’ve seen all COVID season.”

Ben Kooner, meanwhile, is celebrating his fourth birthday with candy, his mom and a surprise visit from a parade wishing him the best

“I think like 20 people came and we didn’t know any of them so it was so nice,” said Taryn Kooner, Ben’s mom.

“He said he was having the best day ever.”

It isn’t only fun for the birthday boys, it’s also fun for the whole family while they are at home practicing social distancing.

“They get to make crafts, we get to have balloons — it’s a party every day,” said Jennifer Sterling with West Kelowna Party Parades.

In the time of social distancing, the idea started on social media. It only took a Facebook group to make a couple of kids feel special.

“We are all complete strangers coming together from West Kelowna to celebrate Ben and Nixon,” said Alida Steele with West Kelowna Party Parades.

“We already have a long line up of other children we will be celebrating.”

There will be plenty more drive-by birthday celebrations happening throughout the city in the coming months.

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