Candy tossing seen as parade danger

Organizers say they may have to crack down on people being “naughty” in the Rutherford County Christmas Parade.

Despite rules designed to stop it, children running into the street to grab candy tossed from floats was a problem again this year, said Angie Walker, who organizes the parade every year with her mother-in-law.

“Children were just a few feet from the floats,” she said. “It’s so scary.”

Sunday’s parade was a success, with a great crowd and no injuries, but safety is still a real concern, Walker said.

Parade rules already state that candy cannot be thrown from floats and must be distributed by people walking alongside the floats. Unfortunately, about 80 percent of the participants ignored that rule, Walker said.

“There are reasons why we have the rules that we have,” she said.

Ideally, Walker said parents should keep their children from running into the street, but that isn’t what has happened in the past.

“We just really want to get the word to spectators to please keep your children out of the street,” Walker said.

The discussion hasn’t been made, but Walker said she would like to modify parade rules so if a participant disobeys the rules they would be prohibited from participating the following year.

Kelli Adams, a Murfreesboro mother who attended the parade with her 6-year-old daughter, said she didn’t see much of a problem, “but I kept a hold on my girl’s hand.”

She said tossing candy from floats was an old tradition that she enjoys.

“I remember catching candy when I was a kid,” she said. “It was fun then, and still is now.”

Adams said allowing people to hand candy out seemed like a reasonable compromise.

To Scott Perkins, owner of City Cafe in downtown Murfreesboro and a parade participant with a float from his business showing a small diner scene, said people on his float didn’t throw candy because of the rules, but other floats around his did.

“I can see both sides of the issue,” he said. “To me it comes down more on the parents — to be aware of their children.”

Perkins said that while throwing candy is a tradition, safety should be a priority.

“It’s supposed to be a fun thing, and nobody wants to see any kids get hurt,” he said.

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