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Easy tips for throwing an epic birthday parade in Miami

Find ways to make your drive-by celebration a blast, from yard signs to entertainment to cake.

Virginia Gil
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Virginia Gil
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One of the many good things to come out of lockdown, besides restaurants delivering cocktails and the advent of curbside everything, is the birthday parade. The socially distant version of a traditional party, these festive caravans have replaced large gatherings, kiddie parties and all kinds of big happenings. If you’re someone who looks forward to celebrating surrounded by 50 of your closest friends, the birthday parade still lets you see all of your loved ones—so lone as they’re willing to hop in a car and drive by your house to deliver their bday wishes. They may have started out as a thoughtful alternative to full-blown fiestas, but, in true Miami fashion, these humble parades have grown into Instagrammable phenomena where oversize lawn decor and live performers are regular occurrences. Looking to throw your own or celebrate someone in your circle with one? Here are some easy tips to follow. 

Get a sign

You’ll want to let everyone on the block know that someone in your home is celebrating a birthday. These will run you anywhere from $90 to $150, including setup and removal. Companies like Sign Gypsies show up the day before or the morning of, install your custom creation and pick it up in the evening (usually around sunset) once everyone’s driven by and snapped plenty of photos. Pro tip: these signs can say anything you want and can be purchased for other occasions, like Father’s Day or for one big public apology.

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Send an invitation

People will need to know where to meet and what the parade route will be ahead of time. Depending on the size and formality of the event, you can either send folks a text or create an evite to share via email. Be sure to encourage them to make signs and arrive early. The last thing you want is a lag between cars or traffic jams to ruin the flow.

Document the day 

Prop your phone facing the street and set up a timelapse to capture the sequence of cars as they make their way past the house. Some people have even hired photographers to snap pictures of the birthday girl or girl as they wave to everyone stopping by.

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Think about favors

You’ll want to thank people for their efforts, so think about packaged or individually wrapped items you can (safely) hand out. Desserts are a great option, something like cupcakes or cookies you can box up and pass out. Plus, you can bake them yourself and, unlike the endless loaves of banana bread you’ve been making, someone other than you will eat them.

Decor and entertainment matter

From blasting music from your own wireless speakers to hiring a DJ to inviting mariachis, treat your lawn as a stage. Your mobile guests will appreciate it as much as your in-house partygoers will. Worried about noise? Balloon arrangements are just as impactful and they’re silent.

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