North Attleborough family arranges parade to wish son a happy birthday

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The Rivas family at Enzo's birthday party on Sunday, April 5. The family arranged a parade for the party, since business closures and social distancing meant that the usual kind of celebration couldn't happen. Courtesy photo
Some of the party-goers decorated their vehicles with signs wishing Enzo a happy birthday. Courtesy photo

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

One of the more unexpected impacts of the pandemic is that birthday parties—normally celebrated with friends and family—have had to undergo some changes.

Such was the case with the Rivas family, who arranged a special celebration for their son Enzo’s birthday on Sunday, April 5. Enzo’s mother Melanie said that the family normally goes to Dave and Buster’s, but all non-essential businesses have been ordered closed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Social distancing has likewise made a celebration with a large crowd at home impossible for the time being. Melanie said she has seen other families face a similar challenge and learned of a new idea—asking people to drive by the home and wave or honked their horns to wish their children a happy birthday. A new plan was made and set for last Sunday.

We decked out the whole house, we had a bubble machine and balloons,” said Melanie. “We had the music going.”

Community School teacher Ellena Augoustakis was among those who received an invitation, and said she was very excited to be a part of the celebration. She even helped arrange an escort from the North Attleborough Police Department, which she kept a surprise until the big day. Enzo is a student at the Community School and his teacher, Gail Silva, was also at the party. Augoustakis and Melanie are both on the school’s PTO, and have become good friends over the years.

I had seen people share these [kinds of celebrations] in other towns,” she said. “That’s a really awesome and creative way to spread kindness and love in this time of social distancing.”

On the big day, around 15 cars drove by the home, many with signs on their vehicles wishing Enzo a happy birthday. The party included Enzo’s cousins, grandparents, and other family, along with his teachers and friends. One of Enzo’s best friends, who recently moved to Brockton, was also at the party. Enzo said that he really liked the experience and may do it again next year.

When he saw his [friend’s] face, he was ecstatic,” said Melanie. “It was hard not to run up and hug people.”