Molly Balloons’ social distancing parade shakes up Sunday nights

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Molly Balloons parade. // Photo by Jim Nimmo

It started on a normal note. A friend mentioned that there might be some photos to be taken at an event on Sunday. “Someone” in the Valentine neighborhood was having some kind of “parade” that practiced social distancing. It sounded odd, so I asked for details. They were a bit cryptic. In fact, they reminded me of how I imagined every bad drug deal ever got its start: ”Meet at the corner of Valentine & Genessee at 6:10 pm.” When I arrived there were only a couple of small groups of people standing on different corners, just looking around.

A Panda Bear pushing a baby stroller showed up. Then a duck with large tail feathers walked up. Then it really started getting weird.

About 6:30 pm, a woman with a megaphone and balloons tied to her back rode up on a bike and announced that the parade’s Grand Marshall had been delayed. Her pet raccoon had gotten loose but not to worry, the raccoon had been found and Molly was on her way, just running late.

You know. Normal raccoon problems.

Molly arrived wearing a pink dress with a huge skirt and silver shoulder pads all made out of balloons, which she will tell you are bio-degradable. She gave instructions on how to behave, what to do when cars come down the street, and issued constant reminders to stay six feet apart.

We have all learned that sometimes self-isolation gets to be a little much. You have to do something to break the monotony. And that’s the task, local artist Molly Munyan aka Molly Balloons, takes on every Sunday. Leading this rather unique parade through the streets of midtown. Costumes and musical instruments are encouraged while masks and social distancing are required. Neighbors sit on porches as the parade winds through the streets, stopping to sing Happy Birthday for a 4-year-old at one house and pausing for a Soul Train line dance in front of another. It has become part Mardi Gras and part therapy session for a neighborhood locked into social distancing.

Categories: Culture