How to Organize a Car Birthday Parade


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Want to celebrate a birthday with a car parade? This is becoming an increasingly popular way to celebrate birthdays and other big celebrations.  We have some helpful and practical tips that will help you organize a successful car birthday parade!

Kids Car Birthday Parade

I’m just over here… adding to my list of “things I never thought I’d do” which is the same list as my “the things that have become my new normal” list. Isn’t this the truth, though? Think back through the activities that your family has done in the last few weeks. How many things can you pick out that were very different than the norm? I’m not exagerrating when I say that I can name at least 20 things.  Bob working from home, kids schooling via computer, and an overall loss of the concept of time would top my list for sure.

Car Birthday Parades Have Become Super Popular

The concept of a car birthday parade is super simple. You drive past the birthday person’s house and beep your horn, yell out the window, show off a sign or banner, etc.

Actually pulling off a car birthday parade has proven to be a little trickier.  Trust me: a little organization goes a long way.  It doesn’t take much effort, but a little pre-planning helps things run a lot smoother.

Car Birthday Parade Staging

Easy Tips for Organizing Your Parade

Invite people. Sounds like a no-brainer, but consistency is key. Send a group text, make a Facebook post, send an evite – whatever you want! But provide a clear meeting spot and time. Will you be accepting presents? (More on that below.)  You probably don’t need people to RSVP to this kind of event – in our experience they have a “show up if you can” kind of air.

Consider your location. Do you live on a busy road? Maybe you live in a development? Or an apartment or townhouse? Or perhaps you are totally off the beaten track? It is helpful if you can choose a spot that is easy to access and can accommodate cars driving at a slow pace past the birthday guy/gal. Is there a place for cars to stage before the parade begins?  If you live in a spot that is hard to access, you might consider choosing a public parking lot for your parade location.

Choose a staging location. Pick a nearby street to have cars wait in line before your birthday parade begins. Give clear directions to guests as far as staging goes so that they know exactly when and where to be.

Designate a lead car (and let everyone know who it is and what the car looks like). Having a designated lead car is SUPER helpful for your car parade, especially if you are staging the cars out of eyesight from the guest of honor. Choose a friend or family member to be the lead car. Let other guests know. Ideally that person will get to the line first, but if they don’t, the other cars will know to leave room for him or her. Having a lead person gives the organizer someone to text when the guest of honor is in place and the parade should begin!

Decide if you will accept gifts or not and let people know ahead of time. If you are open to accepting gift drop-offs, let guests know what your plan is ahead of time. You can do a contact-less drop off if guests place their gifts in their trunks before they leave home. Someone with the birthday boy/girl can retrieve the gift from the trunk.

Car Birthday Parade Celebration

You Can Skip the Parade and Opt for a Drive-By Window

Last week we participated in a birthday drive-by, but it was not a parade. The organizer simply told people to drive by at any time during a 1 hour window. Luckily the weather was great that day and the family sat out in their driveway and greeted people throughout the hour.  It worked out really well from what we could tell.

Have you participated in any car birthday parades lately? Let us know if you have any tips that we didn’t include in this post! 


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