Lions really had no other option

In case you missed it, this item was in the 25 Years Ago section of The Way We Were on this page last week:
Starting with the VCHS homecoming parade Friday, the city of Vandalia had new rules governing parades. Those rules stated that parade participants would no longer be able to throw candy or other give-away items, and that parade watchers would be required to stay on sidewalks.
That tells you how long crowd control has been an issue. In fact, it's continually gotten worse, especially in recent years.
The Vandalia Lions Club's decision to ban candy from this year's Halloween parade is really about the only option the club had.
It has a tradition of being one of the better Halloween parades in Southern Illinois, and one reason is the number of high school and junior high bands that it draws. This year, there will be at least two fewer bands, because of complaints about candy being thrown at band members and vulgarities being yelled.
That is just one of the issues, with safety being another. The possibilities of children being injured when they are out into the street as trucks, tractors, motorcycles and Shriners' vehicles go down the parade route.
Members of the Lions Club and local law enforcement personnel go up and down the parade route, moving the crowds back closer to the curbs, but the crowd moves right back out into the street.
That is a problem that has gotten increasingly worse in recent years – young children, teens and adults, and adults pulling children, creeping closer and closer to the middle of the street as the parade progresses. In recent years, the crowd on both sides is only a few feet from the parade entries near the end of the parade.
As mentioned earlier, it has been 25 years since the city and Lions Club first asked parade-goers to stay back at the sidewalks, and for parade entries to walk along and drop candy in front of the crowds, and not throw it from floats and vehicles. That, obviously, has not worked.
The idea of putting up some type of temporary fencing has been discussed, and is still being considered. It's a costly option and one that will require both parade-goers and entries to abide by the rules that were put in place in 1991.
This year's parade will definitely have a somewhat different flavor, and how everyone reacts to the change could have an impact on what the Halloween parade, and other parades, could be like in future years.
It will take the cooperation of all parties involved to be able to return to what we have had in years past.
rb

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