The Power of Parade: In Grim Times, Cars Suddenly Find a New Use

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Ever since Illinoisans were asked to stay at home by our governor in March, a new trend has popped up – people celebrating birthdays or other milestones by driving past the house of the honored person, sometimes honking horns and displaying signs.

It’s meant to be a nod to normalcy in these decidedly abnormal times, as well as an acknowledgment of celebrations that can’t be held at homes or restaurants for the time being. I don’t know if it’s happening only in the Chicago area or also elsewhere, but it’s a nice gesture during these trying times.

Like everyone else, I hate being stuck at home this much – although I do understand why it’s necessary, and I’ll abide by it. This is part of why I get irritated with the anti-lockdown protesters – it’s not just that they might further the spread of the coronavirus, thus leaving us in lockdown limbo longer, but also that there’s somehow this narrative that those of us in support of shelter-in-place love being at home all the time. As if we have to like a policy in order to abide by it.

I don’t. I hate it. But I get it. And because I know it needs to be done, no matter how much it sucks, I am, like anyone else going stir crazy and getting tired of Netflix, looking for any little scraps of cheer to make my days less grim. And while I normally take the cynical journalist approach to corny stories of good news on the evening news, I did smile over the weekend when my local NBC affiliate showed a parade of cars trundling through a Chicago suburb in order to make a little kid smile.

This particular kid was turning five, and he’s a car guy (boy?). His mom, wanting to make his birthday feel special in a time in which celebrations are a no-go for quite understandable reasons, got creative. She put the word on social media that her little dude loved cars, and if any local gearheads needed an excuse for a weekend drive, maybe they could parade past the house in their cool cars and honk and wave?

And they came in their Corvettes and Chevy trucks and Mustangs (no, no one spun into a lawn. This wasn’t Cars and Coffee), all to brighten a boy’s day because we can’t live our lives normally until we get this virus under control.

Go ahead, watch the video and play car spotter. And see if you don’t get a smile on your face, just for a minute.

The news is almost all grim these days, as one would expect. But sometimes we get something good, and it’s okay to smile, if only for a second.

[Image: Chevrolet/General Motors]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • El scotto El scotto on Apr 30, 2020

    Denmark announced widespread closures on March 11 and was among the first in Europe to close borders, shops, schools and restaurants, and to ban large gatherings. Norway began introducing travel restrictions in mid-March and has since closed schools and daycare centers, banned the use of vacation properties, canceled events and closed businesses such as hair and beauty salons. The death rate in Sweden has now risen significantly higher than many other countries in Europe, reaching more than 22 per 100,000 people, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, controlled for population. By contrast, Denmark has recorded just over seven deaths per 100,000 people, and both Norway and Finland less than four. Source: CNN Denmark has recorded just over seven deaths per 100,000 people, and both Norway and Finland less than four. Perhaps not a good idea after all.

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    • FreedMike FreedMike on Apr 30, 2020

      @jack4x Ditto, I've just about run through my decanter of Jim Beam myself. Time for a refill!

  • Sobro Sobro on Apr 30, 2020

    I was going to comment on the Illinois car parade but somehow this isn't the thread to do so. So I'll comment that two weeks ago a beloved member of our church turned 78 and we held a car parade to wish him well.

  • RobbyG $100k+...for a Jeep. Are they selling these in fantasy land?Twin turbo inline 6 paired to an 8-speed transmission. Yet still only gets 14mpg.Whatever money you think you would save over a V-8 will be spent 2-3x amount fixing these things when they blow up.
  • Alan Well the manufacturers are catching up with stocks. This means shortages of parts is reducing. Stocks are building around the world even Australia and last year had the most vehicles ever sold here.
  • Larry You neglected to mention that the 2024 Atlas has a US Government 5-Star Safety Rating.
  • Alan Why is it that Toyota and Nissan beat their large SUVs (Patrol/300 Series) with an ugly stick and say they are upmarket? Whilst they are beating the vehicles with an ugly stick they reduce the off road ability rather than improve it.As I've stated in previous comments you are far better off waiting for the Patrol to arrive than buy an overpriced vehicle.
  • Alan How many people do you see with a 4x4 running mud tyres? How many people do you see with a 4x4 running massive rims and low profile tyres? How many people have oversize mirrors for towing once in a blue moon? How many 4x4s do you see lifted? How many people care what tyres they run to save fuel? The most comfortable tyres are more or less the most economical.