El Pasoans and other area residents have been taking to the streets to celebrate weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and other events by using outdoor garlands and neighborhood parades to commemorate celebrations because the pandemic is limiting indoor social gatherings.
A bridal shower for Elizabeth Morales, 28, was postponed several times since March because of COVID-19 concerns, but her big day was finally celebrated in mid-October when her parents organized a parade to note her daughter’s nuptials.
“This was not the way I had planned on celebrating my bridal shower, but with the setup of my balloons, I wouldn’t have asked for anything different,” Morales said. “They were beautiful and made me realize that it is OK to have it celebrated this way for the safety of my friends and family,” she said.
The pandemic has forced wedding halls to close because of restrictions that limit social gatherings. Engaged couples have been looking forward to celebrating their upcoming marriage, but have had to keep postponing due to the shutdowns and not risking their friends and family’s lives.
Morales’s parents, David and Frances Perches set up the memorable parade in front of their Lower Valley home and celebrated the shower for Morales and future son-in law, Shaun Hilburn, 32, celebrated with family and friends.
“Even with this pandemic, we were still able to celebrate with the people we love. Plus it doesn’t matter if we had a hall or not, what matters is keeping safe and having others safe as well,” Frances Perches said. “The balloon tied it all together at the end.”
Businesses that organize these celebrations have been busy.
“The balloon business became more personal now that we have to change the way we have our parties,” said Victor Arzola, co-owner of Mia’s Balloons. “My wife and I saw the value that balloons bring nowadays to any occasion from graduations, anniversaries, birthdays and the holidays as well.”
Mia’s Balloons is booked virtually every weekend, co-owner Ana Arzola said. They also are busy delivering balloon decorations throughout El Paso County and outside the county lines.
Regardless of any occasion, family and friends continue to celebrate events despite the pandemic and accompanying uncertainty, making milestones memorable.
“Our customers want something to live up the parade and for them letting us be part of it. We want to personalize our garlands to show something personal and memorable to remember their day,” Victor Arzola said.
The way people are now celebrating and keeping safe is by inviting their friends and family to drive-by parades. Garlands are often set up at the celebratory location, filled with colorful balloons of different sizes and different shapes.
The balloon garlands have become a bigger hit, now that birthdays, weddings, baby showers, graduations and quinceañeras have been pushed back or also postponed.