Birthday celebration from a safe distance

Birthday car parades popular during pandemic 

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On April 5, around a dozen cars cruised by Landon’s house in Old Town as he stood out front. Vehicles filled with screaming kids hanging out the windows holding homemade banners paraded by. Courtesy photo

Seal Beach resident Landon Pardasani had been eagerly anticipating turning 6 on April 5. But his birthday would not be marked with a traditional party like in years past. “He was sad he couldn’t have a celebration or see his friends,” Landon’s mom, Farnaz Pardasani, wrote in an email message.

To curb the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus, the public has been urged to limit social gatherings. So, what’s a parent to do if their child’s birthday occurs during this pandemic? Pardasani said a friend suggested asking people to come by the house to deliver birthday wishes from a safe distance. “With that, the ‘birthday car parade’ was born,” she said.

On April 5, around a dozen cars cruised by Landon’s house in Old Town as he stood out front. Vehicles filled with screaming kids hanging out the windows holding homemade banners paraded by. Upbeat music filled the air. One kid used a megaphone to wish Landon a happy birthday. “What was to be an ordinary, isolated birthday became an extraordinary celebration thanks to our friends and family,” Pardasani said.

Landon’s not the only one celebrating this way. On April 6, nearly 25 cars rolled through the Hill neighborhood with horns honking to celebrate Weston Beljajev turning 8.

Weston’s mother said birthdays are very important to her three sons. But she realized that the threat of covid-19 made it impossible to host a backyard party as planned. So, they opted for a “drive-by” version.

“Weston was thrilled,” Neyleen Ortiz-Beljajev wrote in an email and noted a highlight was when Weston’s Seal Beach Pony League baseball teammates showed up in uniform.  “It brought tears to my eyes when I saw the little twinkle in his eye return. It has been a while since I have seen that side to him,” she wrote.

The Seal Beach Police Department has also taken part in a handful of drive-by parties recently.On March 30, officers in patrol cars treated Rossmoor resident Billy Williams to a surprise car parade to mark his 8th birthday. SBPD posted video of the parade on social media this week.

“That was awesome!” Billy exclaims in the video.

“Due to this unfortunate situation, the SBPD wants to help bring joy to kids who cannot have traditional birthday parties,” Seal Beach Police Chief Phil Gonshak said in a statement. “Their faces light up when they see police cars driving down the street and police officers wishing them happy birthday over the PA system.”

Billy’s mother Melissa Williams said she thinks this birthday will be more memorable than most. “He will not forget his police car parade driving by.”

Editor’s Note: This story ran in the April 16, issue of the Sun News. A site crash deleted its original posting.

Birthday celebration from a safe distance