Some don't want candy tossed in Portland Christmas parade - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Some don't want candy tossed in Portland Christmas parade

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PORTLAND, TN (WSMV) -

Some leaders in Portland want to end the tradition of throwing candy from floats in the annual nighttime Christmas parade because of safety concerns for children.

"We want to keep the candy. We just want to do it safely," said Sherri Ferguson, with the Portland Chamber of Commerce.

Families with kids line the highway in Portland every year for the Christmas parade, but ever since the chamber of commerce took it over four years ago, leaders have been worried about candy flying from vehicles and floats.

Sometimes the candy lands near to the moving vehicles, and kids who go running after the treats come too close for comfort.

"More than likely, you could stop going 5 mph, but you are in a vehicle pulling a float behind you," Ferguson said.

Gallatin, Hendersonville and White House no longer allow candy thrown during parades, so the Portland chamber is asking the city to pass an ordinance which would place police along the route to remove anyone from the parade that throws candy from a float.

"We've had this for 60 years, and as far as I know, no one has ever been hurt. That don't mean it can't happen this year, but it could happen today, too," said Portland city councilman Melvin Minnis.

Minnis wants to keep the tradition. He and the vice mayor are against what they consider a drastic proposal.

But a clause added on the parade application only allowing people walking close to the crowd to toss candy hasn't stopped anyone in the past, and neither have volunteers along the route.

"You know, we've had several who would say, 'Please do not throw candy from the vehicle, because it bounces it back in, and kids are going to get run over.' And their response will be, 'Who's going to make me?'" Ferguson said.

They may not have an answer before this year's parade on Dec. 7. The next meeting with the two parties won't happen until January.

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