For safety’s sake, some parades ban candy tossing

3 Jul

For safety's sake, some parades ban candy tossingGone are the days when patriots could freely heave handfuls of candy from atop Independence Day floats.

Citing risks related to high-velocity sweets and the danger of luring young ones toward moving vehicles, most parade organizers in central Ohio now forbid participants from throwing candy to spectators.

“We strictly prohibit that in our parade,” said Lissa Wade, co-chairwoman of the Upper Arlington Fourth of July Committee, which organizes the city’s annual parade. “There’s no throwing, there’s no distribution.”

The rules are the same at today’s Red, White & Boom Independence Day Parade, which steps off at 6 p.m. and will draw thousands of spectators Downtown. In recent years, organizers had lifted a candy ban from the past, but they reinstated it this year.

“Truly, it’s a safety factor,” said Terri Leist, one of the parade’s planners and spokeswoman for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, adding that impulsive children are liable to dash into the road if it’s littered with candy.

Of 12 central Ohio communities with parades that were surveyed, five permit airborne candy deliveries.

Some cities don’t ban candy entirely but demand distribution etiquette, such as Dublin’s “hand-to-hand” rule, which stipulates that candy must be given out by carriers walking along the curb. In New Albany, at least two people must flank a float and act as human shields if they want to offer treats to the crowd.

Ignoring rules and tossing candy can mean getting tossed from the parade.

The bans and limitations mirror rules implemented by cities across the country in recent years in response to parade-related injuries.

A Florida man suffered a detached retina in 2007 when a flying piece of hard candy struck him in the eye during a Christmas parade. And in 2009, a 9-year-old Florida boy was killed in a Christmas parade when his foot was caught under a wheel and he fell under the float. He had been passing out beads and candy.


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Often, those who are struck by floats are children who pass out candy to the crowd, either walking next to the vehicles or hopping on and off – not the kids darting into the road for a treat.

But in central Ohio, where there have been no major injuries reported at parades, officials said they’re most concerned about kids in the crowd because they’ve seen many near-misses.

Frank Treadway, Gahanna’s parade organizer, said last year a man prodded his grandson into the street to nab a piece of candy that was in the path of the golf cart Treadway was driving. He nearly hit the child.

“The grandfather just pushed him right in front of me, and I said, ‘My God!'” said Treadway, president of the Gahanna Lion’s Club.

Organizers in the communities that permit throwing – Bexley, Hilliard, Northland, Whitehall and Worthington Hills – say they don’t have to abandon the tradition because parents are vigilant about keeping kids in control.

Plus, some said, it’s easier for children to get excited about the holiday if there’s a sweet reward involved.

“That’s why kids want to go,” said Ginger Maloney, assistant parade marshal for the Worthington Hills Fourth of July Parade. “Some kids want to watch the parade because they want to get candy.”

Article posted by Spencer Samaroo, Managing Director, Moo-Lolly-Bar
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Source and Photo: The Columbus Dispatch

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