|Candy, flyers prohibited at OTD parade|
|July 07, 2016 Jerry Purvis|
Candy, flyers, mini Frisbees and anything else handed out by participants in the Saturday, July 9 main parade are now banned under revised rules issued by the Oregon Trail Days Committee.
“Everything is included,” said Committee Chair Jody Ruzicka. ‘We’re also asking dignitaries not to distribute handouts, water or anything else.”
She said that if people are selling water and have a permit, they can use the sidewalks. But with thousands of people watching the parade, the only practical location for vendors is on street corners.
“Our goal is to keep kids from coming out into the street,” Ruzicka said. “Last year was horrible. Kids were running out into the middle of the street as some of the big combines were passing by. We don’t have enough staff to keep the kids back. We tried yellow tape one year, but the kids just went under it.”
After discussing the problem, the committee decided to implement a ban before anyone gets hurt. Similar bans have already been implemented in places like Sheridan and Cheyenne in Wyoming, as well as a number of other cities.
The ban is only in effect for Saturday’s main parade. The kiddie parade on Friday, July 8 has no motorized vehicles, so participants may throw candy to the crowd.
“We’ve worked together and tried many approaches to solve the safety risks cause by candy and other items being dispensed from floats during the parade,” Ruzicka said. “Those efforts have been unsuccessful and have resulted in many close calls that have been averted.”
She said the committee recognizes the disappointment of some parents, but asks for their cooperation in keeping the kids and participants safe during the parade.
Because the Oregon Trail Days parade is a tradition with many families, the committee invites parents to bring their kids and stop by the front steps of the Gering City Hall on P Street for a handful of candy, donated by Oregon Trail Days, the Gering Police Officers’ Association and local businesses with floats in the parade.