The St. Patrick's Day Metairie Road Parade, near New Orleans, Louisiana, is prohibiting participants from throwing potatoes in light of complaints and safety concerns.

“It's a safety issue,” parade captain Dan Civello told Eyewitness News (WWL), noting that too many post-parade complaints are of people getting hit, especially with potatoes.

“Fortunately, I don’t think we’ve had anybody seriously injured - yet. We want to stop that before anything like that happens.”

The St. Patrick's Day Metairie Road Parade, which was founded in 1971 and is scheduled for Sunday, March 12 this year, is expected to draw about 3,000 riders, 100 trucks and floats, and marching groups.

Organizers are clear in this year's rules: "All throws must be legitimate Saint Patrick’s Day throws; beads and trinkets are allowed.

"Potatoes, lemons, and limes are strictly forbidden.

"Cabbage must not be thrown under any circumstance; underhand tossing of cabbage is the only manner allowed.

"Produce will only be given to spectators from the lower level of a unit.

"Any unit observed throwing an item which may become a missile/projectile will be immediately ejected from the parade, receive a zero score, put on probation, or not invited back in the future.

"No produce of any kind is allowed on the second tier of any unit."

Participation in the Metairie St. Patrick's Day Parade is by written invitation only, though there is a wait list in place. Organizers say: "Vacancies are filled from a waiting list when a parading unit disregards one of our rules, but not limited to, such as throwing of cabbage or any missile which can cause injury. Units that disregard these rules are simply not invited back again."

Though lemon and limes are prohibited under the 2023 rules, Civello seems more lenient on the citrus tosses, telling Eyewitness News (WWL): “If you have them, just flip them off the side. 

“Just use a little bit of common sense, that’s all.”

Potatoes, however, have been blacklisted: “When you throw a pound and a half potato [and] somebody gets hit, they’re gonna get hurt. It happens.”

Civello added: “It’s safe, it’s clean, that’s the way we want to keep it.”

Indeed, parade organizers insist in this year's rules: "This is a family parade! Govern your unit and members accordingly! This means no offensive or obscene music; no offensive or obscene costumes; no offensive or obscene throws; no offensive or obscene nothing!

"Violation of this rule will result in immediate ejection from the parade. Period!"

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