Community invited to surprise 16th birthday drive-by parade

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On Saturday, April 4, Michaela Long will be celebrating her 16th birthday. But with social distancing measures due to Covid-19, celebrating means finding creative solutions to make it a birthday she’ll never forget.

That’s why her family is hoping the Blaine community will pull together and help celebrate Michaela’s caring personality during a surprise Sweet 16 party. The party will involve a recent trend that’s swept across the country: a drive-by parade of cars that will start at the Northwood Alliance Church at 580 C Street and drive past Michaela’s house nearby. 

Cars will line up at the church at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday and the parade will begin at noon. Friends and family have already confirmed their attendance, along with neighbors who will hold posters for her along the street. 

“I hope to see a community come together to celebrate one of their own, to support and love her,” said Robin Peterson-Long, Michaela’s mom. 

This will be the first time that Michaela, who has underlying pulmonary conditions that put her at high risk for respiratory illnesses, will see friends since before the Blaine school district closed its doors on March 16. Her mom describes Michaela as an avid volleyball player with a bubbly personality.

Peterson began planning the event after Michaela’s original birthday plans to visit Seattle were canceled and similar parades on T.V. seemed like a great next option. Peterson has the help of her other two daughters, Meghan and Sabrina, to organize the event. 

“I’m excited to see her smile, which will be hard with her mask, and the twinkle in her eyes,” Peterson said. “I hope she understands how much she is loved and supported. She is so kind and accepting of others and gives her whole heart.”

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