The Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee bans participant interaction with crowd, and beads that “represent a connotation for verbal interactions of a sexually explicit nature.”
In a letter that caused shock to some Rochester parade goers, the organizers have introduced some regulations that certainly raise an eyebrow.
Among the changes outlined in the document are: “There will be no interactions between the marching units and parade crowd such as throwing candy/items of any kind, handing out beads/pamphlets, selling items, passing balls back and forth.”
The committed argues public safety as a high priority for enforcing theses changes, but also adds a specific reason for the reason behind banning bead-giving:
"For example, this is not a Mardi Gras parade where the beads can represent a connotation for verbal interactions of a sexually explicit nature. Again, this is behavior not suited for a family oriented event honoring the Patron Saint of Ireland and it will not be tolerated."
The committees also plan to ban alcohol consumption while the parade is taking place, and reduce the parade time to below three hours.
While the majority of these changes have met no opposition, the banning of crowd/participant interaction and the Mardi Gras comparison has upset some locals.
"It takes out the playfulness and interaction between the parade participants and the people there. It's horrible," Clem McGhan, proprietor of McGhan’s Nearly Famous Pub in Victor, N.Y. told local ABC news channel 13wham.
McGhan didn’t see any connotation the committee was alluding to with the issue of bead-giving.
“The kids and the parents were pleading and running out to get the beads. There's no mistaking New Orleans for Rochester, New York," he added.
Carole McGhan-Hicks told 13wham that it was the human touch that made the Rochester St. Patrick's Day parade so special.
"People go to the St. Patrick's Day parade to intermingle with the people marching in the parade, and I think they're going to be really disappointed,” she said.