Thursday, November 14, 2013
Macy’s Parade of Lights has become a popular (albeit occasionally cold) community event. Folks enjoy watching the lighted floats on downtown streets as those on board or alongside dole outcandy to the crowd.
The parade is fun.
Unfortunately, an accident occurred last year that could have been very serious. A girl participating in the parade with the Walla Walla Swim Club float got her heel caught under a wheel and had her lower leg run over, resulting in what turned out to be a minor injury. The girl was said to be walking too close to the float as the crowd on the street pushed participants in toward the moving floats.
The concern is the parked cars along the parade route force the spectators to step out onto the street, which doesn’t leave enough room for the parade participants.
It’s been suggested that parking be prohibited during the parade by the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, city of Walla Walla and Walla Walla Police Department.
It seems a prudent move to make the Dec. 7 night parade safer.
However, banning candy is going too far. This year float participants will not be allowed to hand out candy or pamphlets to spectators. That move is an overreaction.
The interaction with the crowd is one of the things that makes a small, community parade such as Macy’s Parade of Lights or the Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days special.
Parade officials shouldn’t suck all the fun out of the event.
Parades have not been particularly dangerous.
The only serious injury in recent memory (a long time for Walla Wallans) occurred to a young girl in 1980 when a local church float caught fire during the Fair Parade. Reasonable safety precautions were taken after the unfortunate incident, and all has been well since.
Nothing can be made 100 percent safe. Risk is part of life.
The key in staging events is to find the proper balance.
It makes sense to reduce parking on the street, but that’s the only change that should take place. Officials can see how it works and make appropriate tweaks.