By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With parties and get-togethers put on hold, people are getting creative with the way they celebrate milestones and birthdays.

Emily Hendrickson turned 12 Thursday and was feeling a bit down, but that didn’t last long thanks to her neighborhood.

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“We were going to do a shopping day at MOA, a big family dinner, we’ve shut all that down as long as the world has shut it down as well,” Alexa, Emily’s mom, said.

Turning 12 in the middle of a quarantine, and on a rainy day, was giving Emily the birthday blues. That was until there was a honk, then a cheer, and then a whole caravan of her friends and neighbors paraded past her house — ready to throw a social distance celebration.

“We just didn’t want something amazing to not happen for her birthday,” neighbor Heidi Segedy said. “Emily is DHH, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and she just got cochlear implants a couple years ago.”

That meant plenty of pom-poms and signs. There was no mistaking this message.

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“This is one way to show support even if we are quarantined in our houses,” neighbor Tia Cameron said.

The paraders even circled the block again and again. In this neighborhood, the new normal was a welcome sight.

“We have an amazing village,” Alexa said. “We couldn’t ask for anything more especially, in times like this.”

Emily didn’t know about the birthday car parade until just a few minutes before her friends and neighbors showed up.

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“It was very unbelievable because this doesn’t usually happen,” Emily said. “I really liked it. I felt very loved.”

John Lauritsen