Photo Courtesy of Kaitlan Tennant‎

Photo Courtesy of Kaitlan Tennant‎

Birthday Parades bring smiles to local children in Rimbey

Kelly McLean says she got the idea for birthday parades from an article in a B.C. newspaper

A Rimbey mother is planning birthday celebrations for local kids, who had to cancel their plans due to the current social distancing mandates around COVID-19.

On April 4, the first celebration took place: a small parade which went by a couple home where children with recent birthdays lived.

Self-isolation and social distancing can be confusing and hard to handle, especially for young children, said Kelly McLean, the organizer of Rimbey’s Birthday Parades says.

“Kids often get the common cold or common flu and then they get better and everything is fine, so it is hard for them to understand why this isn’t going away and why they can’t go play with their friends,” McLean said.

McLean says she came up with the idea after seeing a similar story printed in a B.C. newspaper.

With a son who has a birthday in April, she says the birthday parade idea was purely selfish.

“We had already bought our party decorations and sent out invitations and then all this happened. While we were mourning the loss of the party, a friend sent me the newspaper article, and I thought it was a great idea,” McLean said.

When she put the idea out to a local Facebook group, she received an immediate response, many were interested in being a part of the parade, or had children who would love a birthday parade.

For the first parade had roughly 10 cars, all decorated, participate.

Amy Burghardt, whose daughter Ella recently turned 5, said the parade’s vehicles honked and people shouted happy birthday, as they drove by.

“We stood on our deck as the parade went by… It was really incredible,” Burghardt said.

The parade route went by the homes for two local kids who have recently had a birthday.

McLean says the next parade, which is planned for April 18, will be planned so that it will go passed the homes of other children with birthdays between April 4 and 18.

“It was like the best thing ever [for Ella], the parade really made her feel special,” Burghardt said, adding the parade made her feel a little emotional as well.

McLean says the point of the parades is to bring a bit of joy into other’s lives, and to do so safely.

Each participant stays safely in their vehicle, and no candy is thrown on to the sidewalks.

She says the birthday parades are not a reason to get our of your cars.

“We want to do this safely, and to observe social distancing, and we can do that while making other people happy,” McLean said.

The plan is to continue with birthday parades throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, so long as there is it is safe to do so.

McLean says the parades will likely always happen on a weekend.

“As long as we have this little bit of freedom and can do it safely, I’ll continue to bring this little bit of happiness,” said McLean.

Burghardt says she is grateful to the residents of Rimbey and for those who took part in the parade.

“Rimbey is such a great place, and the people are amazing and so willing to help other,” Burghardt said.

Rimbey is not the only place doing birthday parades for children. A group has started in Sylvan Lake to help bring joy to local kids on their birthday during this difficult time.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

(File photo)
After several years in limbo, Parkland Manor to be torn down

Rimoka Housing Foundation has received funding and approval for the demolition

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

Most Read