Local group organizes birthday parades for kids celebrating in quarantine

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Inspired by running groups dressing up to go for a jog, the Coulee Parenting Connection decided to take the idea a step further.

Twice a week a group of volunteers are donning costumes to wish local children a happy birthday-- especially when a lot of parties have been forced to cancel.

"[We do this] to bring joy to people who are having birthdays, but are unable to have a party," said Courtney Cameron, a parade volunteer.

The parades are completely free and parents can register online to have the crew stop for a quick visit and song.

While some kids won't get to celebrate in the classroom like usual this year, parents say this is the next best thing.

"[He likes] being able to enjoy it with his classmates at school and because he's not in school obviously he didn't get to do that, so it was nice for him to kind of have people besides his family come and wish him a happy birthday," said Desiree Delao, a La Crosse mom.

The group does the parades on Tuesdays and Thursdays and says they'll keep doing them until quarantine is over. They also say it's not just the kids that are enjoying the celebration.

"Parents have been so happy. Kids have been so happy, even people on the street they're honking their horn," Cameron said. "[We're] bringing some cheer and during this time seeing anything right now that can make you smile and happy is great because this is hard."

"It was amazing! They're so cute, it was so fun," Delao said. "I wish my birthday would fall during this time because I might reach out to them."

From a superhero and baby shark to a dancing unicorn, the gatherings are full of character.

The group also takes precautions to ensure it does the parades as safely as possible.

"We drive separately. We do not touch anything, anybody, any child," Cameron said. "We do stay our distances from one another as much as possible and we are enclosed [in our costumes.]

Volunteers hope the parade brings a smile to everyone that sees them out.

For more information on how to register for a parade, click here.