SOMERVILLE, NJ - Today is the deadline to sign up for a celebratory car parade that will stop by the homes of Somerville High School seniors in a tribute to the Class of 2020.
Car parades have become more popular since the COVID-19 pandemic limited social gatherings, with birthdays, anniversaries and graduations now celebrated with drive-bys complete with honking horns, balloons, signs and other decorations.
That's the goal for the June 20th car caravan, scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., lasting for as long as it takes to honor all seniors on the sign-up list.
Those who have signed up online already said they will be in their front yard, waiting. Many of the seniors are expected to be wearing their graduation gowns.
Organized by borough resident Jessica Dale, those who want to decorate their car and drive in the parade, or families of seniors who would like the caravan to drive by their homes honking their horn, can sign up online at the following link:
A separate parade will be held in Branchburg for those SHS seniors who live there. Contact Elyse Belkin at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are still some loose ends to be tied up - Dale is hoping for a police escort and maybe a fire engine or two. Still uncertain is where staging will be held for the parade, though she said it is likely it will be the Somerville High School parking lot on Davenport Street.
Several SHS teachers have signed up to drive in the caravan, according to Dale.
"We wanted to do something special," she said. "It's going to be great. These kids deserve this, it's their last year; Somerville is such a tight community, they always come together in a time like this."
The borough has a cherished tradition of parades throughout the year, usually on Main Street, from the annual Firemen's Christmas parade in December to the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, one of the largest in New Jersey. In recent years, impromptu drive-bys for the 'Ville's championship SHS Pioneers football team have driven down Main Street and side streets.
"We'll set up a route to follow and hit every single street of every senior, even if that they're not signed up," Dale said.
The Class of 2020 has 272 students, according to Jerry Foley, SHS principal.