Candy-tossing conundrum

There are major issues facing Livingston and Park County, such as the threat of mining and gravel pit operations in Paradise Valley, and budget and waste disposal concerns. 

But sometimes you have to drop everything and deal with matters needing immediate attention, like the candy tossing tradition at our Livingston Roundup Parade.

Livingston takes its annual parade pretty seriously. We’re proud of the fact we have a big, all-American, small-town parade here that folks from all around come to see.

So when the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the parade, decided that due to the danger the activity presents, tossing candy to kids from the center of the parade route will be prohibited, it caught folks’ attention. The chamber says that now, “walkers,” in parade parlance, will stride over to a chalk line that will mark a boundary for kids to stand behind, and distribute confection from there.

Participants will still be able to toss the candy, Chamber Executive Director Leslie Fiegle emphasized Thursday — they just must do so from the edge of the street at that line.

There are people on both sides of the candy aisle. In a recent Enterprise story on the issue, one annual parade participant said they considered not entering this year because of the danger they felt their horses and mules posed to kids running out to collect candy. On the other side are people like Yellowstone Gifts & Sports owners Myron and Bev Kovash, who said in a June 28 letter to the editor they are disappointed in the chamber’s new rule, because each year in the parade they toss 400 pounds of taffy to children but don’t have the manpower to walk over and hand out all that sweet stuff.

It is kind of a shame it’s come to this. There was a certain joy in seeing candy riotously thrown into the air and watching kids run to pick it up. 

If parents would properly supervise their children, this might not even be an issue. But you can’t count on perfect supervision, especially in the excitement of a parade.

So the chamber has a point about child safety. With all the big trucks and horses in the parade, all it would take is one unguarded moment and a child could be seriously injured. And in this litigious age, the city has to consider that. One big lawsuit could spell the end of the parade for a long, long time.

So, that’s the reality of it. But it shouldn’t prevent us from going out and enjoying our showcase Fourth of July weekend event. 

Still, keep an eye on those kids. And yes, in another parade tradition, sneak some of their candy.

— Dwight Harriman
Enterprise News Editor