A group of Naperville residents hosted a happiness parade yesterday afternoon to spread some joy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who’s Idea Was It?
The idea came from Jana Gabrione, a former teacher who was inspired by other educators on Facebook to put on the parade.
“I texted my girlfriends and said, ‘Hey guys I have this crazy idea. What if we pile all the kids in our respective cars and just kind of drive around honking, making signs, and just try to spread some smiles and positivity in this time that we’re all a little uncertain, uneasy and anxious,’” said Gabrione.
Providing Joy During Pandemic
Yesterday’s weather was perfect for the group to cruise some neighborhoods near Naperville’s downtown during the afternoon, when students would most likely be taking their lunch break.
Gabrione said some community members were a little confused as to what was happening, but after they saw signs like “Keep going” and “We’re in this together” enjoyed the efforts to spread cheer.
“We saw lots of smiles, some happy tears, and overall it was really well received,” said Gabrione.
Community Members Loved It
Denise McHale, who saw the parade, said it was wonderful.
“We heard the horns coming down the street and they were about five to six cars. They had inspirational signs, spreading cheer, honking their horns, waving to everybody. I think for the most part it probably made a lot of people’s day,” said McHale.
The group planned for the happiness parade to last about 15 minutes. But after seeing the joy it brought, they continued for about an hour, traveling through Downtown Naperville and beyond to spread joy to workers still at their jobs.
Providing Smiles While Being Safe
Gabrione said they practiced social distancing rules by having each family drive in separate cars.
They’re planning a future happiness parade in support of emergency personnel sometime next week.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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