The Easter Bunny and two characters from “Trolls World Tour” spent Saturday morning entertaining families by parading around the Carson Farms neighborhood on the west side of Delaware.
The parade was organized by Delaware resident and painter Tricia Grapner, who said she just wanted to “bring some joy” to the neighborhood during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Grapner, who operates Canvas Creations For You, a local canvas painting business, said the outbreak forced her to quickly change her business model to eliminate physical contact with customers. With social distancing in mind, Grapner started doing paint kits to go and online paint courts last month. In addition, she’s been trying to find ways to support other small businesses that have been hit hard by the stay-at-home order.
One such business Grapner knew had also been forced to alter its business model was Paulette’s Princess Parties, owned by Paulette Thomas.
“Paulette’s Princess Parties had an event scheduled for April 24 that I was to be a face painter for,” Grapner said. “But that obviously can’t happen. So when Paulette reached out to me to cancel, we started talking about what we were each doing to try to make it through these crazy times. Then she told me about how they were going to offer neighborhood parades! With ‘Trolls World Tour’ coming out, and my 3-year-old being obsessed, I saw this as an amazing opportunity to help Paulette’s company and bring some joy to my neighborhood!”
Grapner said the movie was released digitally Friday, so she decided Saturday would be the perfect day for a parade from Rockmill Street, to Canal Street, to the intersection of Cobblestone Drive and Linwood Street.
“I made a neighborhood event, shared it for three weeks, and asked for donations to pay the actors,” Grapner said. “We were able to raise $300 to pay the actors for their time and talents.”
She added the parade was a hit throughout the neighborhood.
“I got amazing feedback from all the neighbors … it really made their day special!,” Grapner said. “I try to help others as much as I can. Karma is real, and it will always comes back around!”
Thomas said she and the performers enjoyed doing the parade, adding she’s done several parades since the COVID-19 outbreak because parading down the street not only allows everyone to stay apart and safe, but also allows for fun performances and helps lift the community’s spirit.
“When all of this happened we had to completely change our business model and had to figure out what we could do to still bring joy to people,” Thomas said. “It’s been great … bringing that joy to everybody.”
Thomas said in the last week or so, she and her staff of performers have taken part in more than 20 neighborhood parades.
“(The Easter Bunny said) they were very tired,” Thomas said. “It was so neat to see everybody, and I know we just brought so much joy, and in my business, that’s what we do. A couple people said they met neighbors during this, so it’s brought the community together.”
Thomas said her business now offers a variety of digital experiences with characters like phone calls, pen pal programs, and the reading of bedtime stories.
“This came up and we thought we’ve got to be very clever here and keep this going for these kids and parents,” she said.
More information about Canvas Creations For You can be found at http://www.canvascreationsforyou.com/.
More information about Paulette’s Princess Parties can be found at https://www.paulettesprincessparties.com/.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.