METAIRIE, La. — It’s tradition along the route, but when the Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Day Parade rolls March 12 in Jefferson Parish, don’t expect some sought after produce tossed from floats.
“First of all, it’s a safety issue,” parade captain Dan Civello said.
Civello says past problems with people throwing produce like baseballs prompted a change this year. Lemons, limes and potatoes are on the forbidden list.
“Consequently, we get people injured,” Civello said.
Civello says 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,” Civello said. “We want to stop that before anything like that happens.”
The parade committee put a ban on produce that can be used as projectiles this year. Cabbage is still acceptable, but can’t be thrown.
“Cabbages, hand them over. Anything like that, hand it over,” Civello said.
The forbidden produce is the center of a lot of talk on social media. Riders and parade goers seemed surprised by the change and past issues.
“That’s the kind of thing the rest of the folks in the parade don’t see. We have to deal with it,” Civello said.
Civello says the new rule is part of the so called “Ten Commandments” float riders acknowledged when they registered back in November. He didn’t expect it to be a big deal, but says the parade committee is willing to allow lemons and limes if riders follow the rules.
“I’ve been telling people if you have them, just flip them off the side,” Civello said. “Just use a little bit of common sense. That’s all.”
Potatoes, however, are a no.
“When you throw a pound and a half-pound potato, somebody gets hit, they’re going to get hurt. It’s happened,” Civello said.
With about 3,000 riders, 100 trucks and floats, and marching groups, Civello says the parade will be just as fun without spuds flying.
“This is a family parade. It’s safe, it’s clean and that’s the way we want to keep it,” Civello said.
The parade committee will revisit the ban on certain produce for next year if this doesn’t work out.
The parade rolls at noon on March 12, mostly on Metaire Road.
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