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Members of Ferndale lodge put on unique parade during pandemic

By Jennifer Ann Wilson
Courtesy of WXYZ

Watch a Video of the Parade

Bringing joy and smiles everywhere they go, a group in Oakland County has gone viral with the unique surprise popup parade started just last week.

The Ferndale Elks Club usually helps the community by offering scholarships and other programs. In the midst of this pandemic, they’ve found a new way to connect with each other and the community.

When you happen to see a T-Rex walking by your door.

“This is crazy,” says Zack Rummery. Then you look again! And see a unicorn, a shark, a penguin, a bear, rhinoceroses the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and much more!

“They actually told me, ‘come outside, there’s a commotion! They’re back,” says Carolyn Bleibtrey, laughing.

“We’re a secret walking club that pops up on occasion if the weather permits,” says Sarah Ignash.

It’s not so secret anymore! The wearers of these inflatable costumes walking up and down Ferndale’s residential streets, all happen to be members of the Ferndale Elks Club.

Today the organizer of this pop-up parade is revealed.

“I’m the pink unicorn,” says Ignash laughing.

She says she was given the inflatable Pink Unicorn costume as a gift for Christmas to compliment the T-Rex costume she already owned. Now her fun hobby has started a movement!

“It brings us great joy! It brings smiles to our faces,” says Bleibtrey.

“The kids in the neighborhood, they freak out, they run out of the houses to their yards to see us,” says Ignash.

Where ever the pop-up costume parade goes, you’ll see many people taking pictures and videos on their phones.

“Yeah! Oh yeah! I sent it to all our friends just to make them smile,” says Bleibtrey, still laughing.

Ignash was inspired to bring magic to others, because at the moment, she needs some magic herself.

“I laid off 13 people and that weighs so heavily on me, it keeps me up at night,” says Ignash.

She owns All American Pet Resorts Lakeshore in Roseville which temporarily closed in March.

“This is the lighthearted thing to do to balance the crippling anxiety,” says Ignash. “Seeing as the paycheck protection program is already drained of its funds and our application has not even been looked at.”

Uncertainty over the future of finances and employment, those are concerns many people share, but for 30 to 40 minutes, those concerns disappear. This inflatable pop-up parade has grown from just a few people last week to a couple dozen today! Lifting the spirits of every person participating as much as those who happen to see them on an afternoon walk.

They don’t announce their walks in advance to avoid encouraging group gatherings along their route, but if the sun is shining and winds are calm, there’s a good chance they will be out walking bringing smiles everywhere they go.

“It’s just so much fun! It’s fun for us, it’s fun others, it’s really unexpected and that’s part of the enjoyment of it,” says Ignash.

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