NORTH OGDEN -- Candy handouts will be allowed at this year's Cherry Days parade, but it will not be thrown from floats. People will walk alongside the floats next to the curb to distribute candy.
The community services committee took suggestions from the council and decided on regulations that will be tried at the parade this year. The change comes after several complaints from residents about children running into the street to pick up candy thrown from floats. Many felt it was a huge safety issue.
People will not be allowed to get on and off floats, either. Last year, a parade participant was hit by a float while getting on or off a float. That means all candy distributed will have to be carried along the route.
Mayor Richard Harris said that a local grocery store has offered to let people push grocery carts with candy so they can be stocked up. "These are all things we are going to try," Harris said of the changes.
"This has been such a contentious issue. Some people call and say, 'We want candy like it has always been,' and others call and say, 'We want candy but they way you're doing it isn't safe,'aa" Harris said. "Candy is an integral part of the parade, but it will be quite a bit different."
The council has gone back and forth about how to make the parade more safe and enjoyable for all residents. Some suggested that the city buy the candy for everyone and that those in the parade sign a contract of some sort. The idea of the city buying the candy has been declined, but guidelines of "throwable" candy will be given to all those participating in the parade, as well as a list of the new guidelines.
Harris said police will be walking up and down the curbside to ensure safety, but that parade volunteers will also help with the process so police can be stationed in other places, Harris said. He has noticed that many parents let their children roam free along the parade route, and he would like to see that change.
"You would like to think that people will watch their children," Harris said. He is hoping the curbside candy change will make less of that problem.
There will also be a special grandstand set up for senior citizens, which is something new. Harris said there has been an ongoing problem of residents setting up and reserving space for hours and then just prior to the parade starting, children and even some adults come and crowd in front of those who have sat saving places. Many seniors have become disconcerted with the parade because of this.
Harris doesn't know if this is a solution, because many seniors come with their entire extended families to the parade and want to sit with their families, but it is an option, he said.
"People ought to have courtesy, civility and respect for other people's space and understand when they crowd in, it is discourteous," Harris said. He hopes that this year, residents will be more aware of others around them.
Resident Robert Bolar was one of the instigators of the parade guideline change. He approached the city council some months ago with concerns and also with video of children running out into the road during the parade. In an e-mail statement, Bolar said he was impressed that the city listened to his and other residents' concerns and acted accordingly.
"I appreciate the mayor and council who took the time to watch the footage, study the circumstances surrounding the parade, and make the right decision," he said. He believes the parade will remain a fun event for families, but will just be safer.