Some in Wake County turn to ‘birthday parades’ amid social distancing from coronavirus

Wake County News

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — No gatherings or parties are allowed right now due to the coronavirus outbreak, which means a lot of people had to cancel their birthday events.

Several people got creative for their loved ones with surprise birthday parades.

On Friday, honks echoed throughout a Fuquay Varina neighborhood and a Raleigh neighborhood as people took part in two driving celebrations.

In Fuquay Varina, they were celebrating the 70th birthday of Connie Mendler.
“Her daughter called me and asked if I would want to get in on this,” said her friend Linda Benefiel.

Stay-at-home orders for coronavirus nixed traditional birthday plans. So Mendler’s family, friends and neighbors joined together to throw her a surprise parade.

“Just to let her know we all care and love her,” said Benefiel.
“[It was a] surprise,” said birthday girl Mendler. “I thought it was a coronavirus parade and it’s a birthday parade for me, and it’s really cool.”

Fully equipped with candy, decorations, and socially-distancing gift giving. It made her day.

Over in Raleigh, a similar surprise took place for Arch T. Allen’s 80th birthday.
A champagne toast on the porch was interrupted by his friends honking and waiving signs. One sign declared ’80 is the new 100.’

“I’m still in a little shock,” said Allen.

A scheduled birthday party for him this weekend had to be cancelled. His loved ones said that didn’t mean the festivities did.

“I count my blessings. I’ve been blessed with good friends and good family,” said Allen.

Even though they weren’t the birthday events they expected, they ended up being even better.
“It’s the best birthday I’ve ever had in my life and probably ever will have, and I love being 70. I’ve never thought I’d say that,” said Mendler.

Also adding to the unique birthday celebrations reflective of the times, one popular gift item was a roll of toilet paper.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in NC

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