Children scrambled into the street during the Greer High School Homecoming Parade to collect candy thrown by the parade's participants. City Council is scheduled to give second and final reading to adopt the banning of "Silly String", "poppers" and "snaps" during city permitted parades. The tossing of candy has not been addressed.
The Greer Homecoming Parade, held two weeks ago in downtown Greer, had several instances of candy being thrown by parade participants from vehicles. Children darted from the curbs and grappled for the candy within feet of the moving vehicles.
Children were seen running onto N. Main Street uninhibited claiming pieces of wrapped candy.
There is no precedent in the city to prohibit or monitor candy throwing during parades. But there are documentation of people being killed or injured during holiday parades.
• 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.
• A 12-year-old in Oregon broke his leg after being run over by a parade float while he was handing out candy to the crowd from the float during last year's 4th of July parade
• 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.
There’s some middle ground, too. Dublin, Ohio demands distribution etiquette, “hand-to-hand” rule, which stipulates that carriers walking along the curb must give out candy.
Greer officials have been forthright explaining that the “no candy clause” isn’t part of the ordinance, which regulates public conduct of those viewing the parade. The “no candy clause”, reportedly comes from parade permits granted by the city administrator’s office.
During the 2011 Greer Jaycees Christmas Parade police and fire officials were careful to prevent children from running into the streets as candy was tossed from participants in the parade. The police, in fact, only allowed the children to move forward when no moving traffic was nearby and then requested them to remain behind security posts.
Interestingly, there are as many local opinions as there are people asked on the candy tossing issue.
One city official declared there is no ordinance prohibiting throwing candy from moving vehicles. Maybe there should be one, the person reasoned.
A member of council said there is definitely an ordinance while another council representative disagreed and said there wasn’t any prohibition on that age-old parade activity.
And a fourth city official said the parade permits spell out prohibiting candy thrown from its participating vehicles.
But the fact of the matter is no ordinance establishes protocol of having or prohibiting candy tossing during city parades.
The annual Greer Jaycees Christmas parade is Sunday, Dec. 2.
What do you think? Or maybe you would like to voice your opinion at City Council. Tonight’s meeting is 6:30 in City Hall’s Council Chambers.