Help us fund local COVID-19 reporting in our community

Sponsored by:

Hancock: Surprise birthday parade downtown to beat the quarantine blues

  • Hancock girl Hannah Daniels, 13, gets a surprise birthday parade in front of her Main Street house Thursday afternoon. Photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Hancock girl Hannah Daniels, 13, gets a surprise birthday parade in front of her Main Street house Thursday afternoon. Photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Hancock girl Hannah Daniels, 13, gets a surprise birthday parade in front of her Main Street house Thursday afternoon. Photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Hancock girl Hannah Daniels, 13, gets a surprise birthday parade in front of her Main Street house Thursday afternoon. Photo by Meghan Pierce—

Granite State News Collaborative 
Published: 3/27/2020 1:58:35 PM

A girls’ 13th birthday is a milestone. But what happens when the social distancing response our communities are taking to the COVID-19 coronavirus means you don’t get to plan and throw a birthday party this year? For Hancock mom Emily Daniels, the solution to her 13-year-old daughter’s dilemma was a surprise parade. 

Hannah Daniels thought she was stepping out of her Main Street house to go for a walk with her dad. That’s when the police sirens started blaring, frightening the middle school student.

Her shock and fear soon turned to surprise as a parade of cars sporting balloons and streamers began the parade in front of her Hancock home. 

Friends and neighbors hung out of the cars with signs and shouted, “Happy birthday Hannah!”

Some stopped, walked up to the curb and left gifts on the curb.

“She got drive-by presents. That was not supposed to be in the plan, but it happened,” her mother said. 

There was also a who’s who of Hancock walking in the Main Street parade including author Sy Montgomery, founder of Music on Norway Pond Jody Simpson and her husband Rick, and founder of the Cornucopia Project, Kin Schilling and her two sheep. 

It was a “gorgeous sunny day, couldn’t get any better” for a parade, Montgomery said. 

Schilling stopped to give Daniels a homemade birthday card with a picture of four-your-old Hannah with Schilling's sheep. Schilling and Hannah exchanged an air hug while keeping a few feet away from each other. 

The parade ended with as many town vehicles as Police Chief Andy Wood could muster including a few fire and highway department vehicles and of course Wood’s cruiser.

“Emily, Hannah’s mom, actually contacted me a couple of days ago, said she wanted to have a little bit of a parade, with a couple of cars,” Wood said after the parade. “And I thought it would be really cool to do a lot more than a couple. So I talked to Emily and she thought it was a great idea. So we got the town, every little bit that we as town employees could do, just to show people we care and we want to be involved in the community.”

Wood contacted the fire and highway departments in town to get them involved. 

“We wanted to make a day for Hannah when she turned 13, with all the social distancing and no contact with her friends and not being able to do things, I thought it was a great idea. At least give her something she could remember for a long time,” he said. 

The five-minute parade didn’t cost the town anything, he said. “This was a last-minute thing.”

Emily Daniels said she only started planning the parade on Monday and said it didn’t cost her a thing. She only contacted Wood to get his permission for a few close friends to drive by the house, parade-style. 

“I was just sending out stealth texts,” she said. 

She didn’t put it on Facebook because she wanted to keep it a surprise. It worked, with many friends and family members turning out as well as many of Hannah's teachers from Great Brook School in Antrim. Her school principal happens to live next door and offered to call Hannah’s teachers, she said.  

Hannah, having lived all of her 13 years on Main Street, is well-known to residents, especially those living in the center of town, her mother said.

Wood added he has always been Hannah’s biggest customer whenever she opens a lemonade stand. 

“She’s just been a kid of the village her whole life. She’s that kid out on her bike or doing stuff for people. People know her, so that’s why they were willing to help and do stuff,” Daniels said. 

For anyone who wants to do the same, Daniels suggests they contact friends and family and OK the parade with their local police department. To which her husband, Scott Daniels, added, “Be a go-getter like my wife.”

As for Hannah, she will not soon forget the outpouring of love and was moved to tears. She had been long planning her 13th birthday party, but could never have imagined how it would have turned out. 

“I was (planning) for a while and I was super excited. I was really excited. I was going to have a big party with all my friends. And then this happened and I was super confused,” Hannah said both laughing and crying. “It was really nice. And I’m really happy. I’m happy but I’m like crying.”

 

These stories are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

 


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2019 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy