Parade for Landon Balmer’s 11th birthday in Garwin

Landon Balmer, Garwin, had a smile and wave for those honoring him with a special birthday parade on Sunday, April 19. A big banner was posted in front of the Bramer family home to mark the event, too. News-Herald photos/John?Speer

Landon Balmer of Garwin wanted to go camping to celebrate his 11th birthday on Sunday, April 19. But, as is known, the COVID-19 restrictions made that venture pretty much not possible.

Well, family and friends tried to come up with what might be at least as good.

How about a birthday parade with Garwin Fire Department, Ambulance Service, Tama County Sheriff’s Office and that host of family and friends turning out for a surprise?

“It’s cool,” Landon said right after the parade passed by the family home on 4th Street in Garwin promptly at the 2 p.m. starting time on Sunday afternoon after lining up downtown. Landon admitted the organizers had been successful in keeping it a secret and he indeed was surprised as his grandmother, Noel Strohbehn, said was the plan.

Not only did sirens, loudspeaker announcements, waves and birthday wishes come along with the parade vehicles but he received gifts form the well wishers and didn’t have to compete for the parade candy thrown our along the route.

A Tama County Sheriff's Office vehicle was one of the many in the parade which also included Garwin's fire department and ambulance serivce and a lot of friends.

Landon is the son of Kevin and Megan Balmer.

When it's your birthday there's no competition for the candy thrown along the parade route.

Landon's mother and brother take in the parade.

Making the parade even better, Landon received birthday presents from the well-wishers.