Drive-by Parade

Cranberry Twp. woman celebrates 100th birthday

October 26, 2020 Cranberry Living

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Madeleine Samarco of Cranberry Township waves to people during her 100th birthday drive-by parade Saturday. Samarco sat in a vehicle while a line of cars passed, well-wishers waving and delivering gifts to her daughters.

CRANBERRY TWP — It may have been chilly, and dark skies may have loomed above the Fox Run development Saturday morning.

But it was anything but gloomy for Madeleine Samarco, who celebrated her 100th birthday — pandemic-style, of course — with a drive-by parade.

Watching on from a car in her grandson's driveway, Samarco waved and smiled as nearly two dozen cars, filled with friends and family, drove up and stopped to wish her a happy centennial birthday.

Barb Bjalobok celebrates her mother Madeleine Samarco's 100th birthday Saturday in Cranberry. Family and friends took part in a drive-by birthday parade while Samarco sat in a car on her driveway.

It was a different celebration than expected for Samarco, who turned 100 Thursday. Her family had sent out 10 months ago a save-the-date for an 80-person party at the Elks Lodge in Cranberry, but COVID-19 put a halt to that.

Instead, her daughter, Barbara Bjalobok, organized the porch parade after the family sent out a forget-the-date two weeks ago. And for Samarco, it was a good substitute.

Madeleine Samarco's grand-daugher-in-law Kim Samarco waves with family during Madeleine's 100th birthday parade.

“That was really something special,” she said. “I never expected something like that.”

Even the parade itself needed some last-minute tinkering. When it looked as though it would rain, Samarco took cover inside the car, rather than following the original plan of standing outside to greet the revelers.

To be sure, neither rain nor virus could stop the party. And with some of Samarco's children coming from Florida and Arizona, neither could a thousand miles, or even two.

Madeleine Samarco’s step-daughter, Pam Cobak, steps out of her car to deliver a birthday gift and balloons during Samarco’s 100th birthday parade.

At 100 years old, Samarco is only entering her second century. Gennine Flannery, her daughter-in-law, said Samarco's mind is as sharp as ever, and son Kirwan Flannery said her goal is to live to 105 years old — to beat a family record, of course.

While the venue was different, the joy remained the same as Samarco ushered in her 100th year watching her loved ones honk, hold congratulatory posters and set off glittery party streamers.

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Alex J. Weidenhof

Alex J. Weidenhof