By Jef Rietsma
Vicksburg officials recently considered asking for a deposit from parade organizers to ensure the procession route is cleared of candy and litter afterwards.
After discussion, council members took no action on the matter.
Village Manager Jim Mallery later noted that the council already has a “no candy” rule in place and that policy will be stated to parade organizers prior to each parade.
“Tough to enforce, though,” he conceded.
The matter was raised at a recent village council meeting, where a resident said the aftermath of candy and wrappers following the Vicksburg Little League parade left a mess in village streets.
“When I moved to Vicksburg in 2014, I had never seen a community parade in which candy was tossed on the street, whether there was anyone to pick it up or eat it or whatever,” Robert Ball said.
Ball said he and his wife walk daily on a route including Washington, Prairie, and Main streets. He said the day after the Little League parade saw an impressive amount of candy left in Prairie Street and elsewhere. Ball said he and his wife filled two plastic shopping bags with overlooked candy.
“It seems to me that if we make this a fun thing for the children, to throw candy … who picks it up? Do the kids ever pick it up? Should they? Should they have consequences for what they do?” He added, “I don’t know whether elected representatives want to get into this with Little League or whoever they’re approving this for. But it seems like you should give that some thought. I don’t think that’s a good idea for kids to throw candy and gleefully forget about it.”
Council members conceded a public outcry could result if a no-candy-thrown policy is enforced, though they did acknowledge Ball’s concerns.
Council member Carl Keller, in fact, said he was part of a board that a few years ago, banned candy thrown during Little League parades.
“They wanted to lynch me, so that’s a third rail,” he said. “I think we can try to work something out to try to make sure that the kids can have their fun.”
Village Manager Jim Mallery confirmed that the council a few years ago voted to ban thrown candy at parades. He said compliance has gone largely unheeded.
“This is what we face in this town — people are told this is the rule and they don’t follow the rule, so I think we may have to strengthen that with a financial penalty of the cost of picking it up,” he said.
Councilman Rick Holmes said he is not in favor of banning candy at parades, though the village could seek a $200 deposit imposed on parade organizers. If the route is cleaned after the parade, they would receive their full deposit.
“Just as we do at the pavilion,” he said. “(But) go to a Little League parade, go to a homecoming parade, it’s part of the festivities, folks. We live in a small town, let’s let people enjoy the moment. I understand (Ball’s concern), I totally get it, but by the same token, I didn’t vote to not allow candy to be thrown because I think it’s part of a parade.”