We consider Hailey our "home away from home," and love its small-town feel, especially during the Fourth of July. So this year, my husband did what he does every year for the parade. He got up at 6 a.m. to set up his chairs in our favorite spot, under a tree right by the Mint -- perfect viewing for the "Shoot-Out," which was well done this year. Then the parade began and the battle for the candy took over.
At first, the kids were 5 feet from the curb, then 10, and by the end of the parade, kids on our side of the street were beyond the yellow line in the middle of the street, begging for handouts. And not just kids -- right by me was a mother of a toddler with a pacifier in his mouth. She would grab the candy and proudly show it to him, and he would give her a look of complete disinterest, but she kept going for more.
Meanwhile, we tried to get our daughters to be respectful and stay off the street, but after awhile we gave up. And how was the parade? I don't know, and don't ask the kids, all they were focused on was getting the candy. They could have cared less about floats and horses and cool cars.
Now, I have one daughter with severe food allergies, and the first piece of candy she did manage to get (and what a battle that was!) was a peanutbutter taffy. She knows she can't have peanuts so she passed it to her sister, but that began the "itchies." Then there was the Bit O Honey and who knows what else, but by the end of the parade I had a miserable child sitting on my lap scratching her growing welts, while hoards of kids acting like little beggars took over the street so we could not even enjoy the parade.
Now, I wouldn't complain except that this is the third year we have encountered the "candy swarm." Three years ago, teenagers knocked down my then 3- and 4-year olds for it. And where was the crowd control, you ask? The police officers rode on through the middle of it on their bikes and did nothing.
So I ask, can Hailey have the parade without the candy? In a healthy town like Hailey, I would think so. After all, it would take away the issues of allergies, crowd control, and chaos, and allow the families to focus on the small town parade -- what a novel concept!