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8-year-old celebrates birthday in social distancing style

A Cobb County girl was treated to a unique surprise party that included a parade through her neighborhood.

EAST COBB, Ga. — There are countless ways to celebrate a child’s birthday. That is unless the child’s birthday falls in the middle of a global pandemic, and you happen to live in an area where gatherings of 10 or more have been banned. This was the situation for Andrea Stover as she tried to plan a party for her soon-to-be 8 -year-old daughter, Maggie.

“I thought about doing something at the tennis courts, like a movie, and then they said no big groups,” Andrea said. “So everything I thought of was shot down.”

She decided to host a “drive-by birthday surprise,’ and she invited Maggie’s friends, teachers, and coaches. The surprise was simple – meet in front of the clubhouse at 11:50 a.m. on Maggie’s birthday, then, as a group, cruise by the Stover family home at noon.

“We didn't know how else to celebrate her birthday with friends,” Andrea said. “We always do home birthdays and make a big deal about our birthday, so we just thought this is the best way to do it.”

She said she would have been happy with 10 cars, but when the big moment finally arrived, more than 30 cars showed up. Some were decorated with streamers and window chalk. Others had children holding homemade signs out the window. Meanwhile, Maggie was out front with her parents and siblings, thinking they were having a family picnic on the lawn. The birthday girl was all smiles, as the parade started up, then doubled back after reaching the end of the road.

“I thought it was really, really fun and exciting because this has never happened to me before,” Maggie said. “I saw my teacher, my friends from my class, my besties, Emily and Kendall, and all my friends.”

“This brought some normalcy,” Andrea said. “It was a welcome distraction for everyone, adults and kids. I think the kids got something out of it because they got to see their friends from a distance, and I think the adults got something because it was happy.”

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