Featured Stories

Candy tossing returns to summer parade

New rules aim to make Mountain Festival parade safe for spectators

Fans of the Sandy Mountain Festival Parade will once again be able to satisfy their sweet tooth, but with new guidelines designed to make the event safer for spectators.

Last week, The Sandy Mountain Festival Board approved a list of candy-throwing regulations for those participating in the parade, which will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 7. The event historically has drawn anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 attendees and 100 to 115 parade entries to the route, which travels the 1-mile distance of Pioneer Boulevard from Bluff Road to Wolf Drive.

The prohibition on candy tossing had been in place for more than five years.

“There were some community members who asked us to reconsider,” said Shannon Brown, festival board spokesperson. “And being responsive to the community, since this is their parade and their festival, we decided to revisit it and decided to reinstitute it, with some precautionary and safety measures put into place.”

The new rules state that only commercially produced candy will be allowed, and that participants must indicate whether they’ll be throwing candy when they register for the parade. Motorized and equestrian parade participants must also show proof of liability insurance with their application.

Participants must provide at least two pedestrian monitors — one on the left, the other on the right — to ensure spectators will not approach them during the parade. If they don’t provide the monitors, they won’t be able to participate.

Finally, anyone who violates the rules won’t be allowed to join the parade in the future. The full rules and application are available on the festival site, sandymountainfestival.org.

This most recent candy-tossing ban was not the first time the board pressed pause on the practice.

Candy throwing was initially eliminated more than 20 years ago when two small children were almost struck by a tank when they ran in front of it to collect thrown candy, Brown explained. Then, about 15 years ago, the community asked to allow handouts at the parade, and the rule was modified to permit candy and other items to be distributed. However, at that time, the parade’s insurance policy didn’t allow for items other than candy, so sweets became the only goodie giveaway.

But when parade participants wouldn’t stop throwing the candy — rather than handing it out, as outlined by the insurance policy — sweets were tossed from the event entirely.

“We certainly don’t want anyone to get hurt at a parade,” Brown said.

Sandy isn’t the first town to bite into the candy-toss issue. Cities in Utah, Ohio and Illinois have all considered bans or enacted one, citing concerns about children and teenagers running out into the parade traffic and being injured by float wheels or skittish horses.

Such incidents aren’t unheard of, either: In 2012, a 10-year-old Florida boy tried to retrieve candy during a Christmas parade, and a float ran over his right thigh instead. Thrown parade candy has also been blamed for spectator eye and facial injuries.

At the national level, First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign also has touched on the parade candy-toss issue, prompting some cities to forbid sweets as a way to fight childhood obesity.

Candy tosses have injured non-spectators, too. In 2010 in nearby Molalla, an 11-year-old boy was helping to hand out candy during the Buckeroo Parade when he stopped to refill his candy bucket. A float hit him and caught his leg under its wheel. It was the second time a child was struck during the Buckeroo Parade.

The Mountain Festival board believes the new regulations will reduce the likelihood that similar incidents will happen at Sandy’s event.

“Having these rules in place will hopefully alleviate the problems that others have had,” Brown said. “It’s an abundance of caution, just trying to be safe, and to make it fun for everybody.”