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Hope Mills commissioners approve new parade rules

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Part of Donnie Spell's 2013 Independence Day parade entry in Hope Mills. Courtesy: Michael Kenneth Part of Donnie Spell's 2013 Independence Day parade entry in Hope Mills. Courtesy: Michael Kenneth
Close-up of the vintage advertisement sign on the front side of the trailer. Close-up of the vintage advertisement sign on the front side of the trailer.
Close-up of the signs on the side of the trailer. Courtesy: Michael Kenneth Close-up of the signs on the side of the trailer. Courtesy: Michael Kenneth
HOPE MILLS, N.C. -

At their meeting Monday night, Hope Mills town commissioners gave final approval to a set of rules for this year's Christmas Parade. Town manager John Ellis said the rules could be approved for future town parades if the commissioners desired.

The new rules cover several minute and specific guidelines that parade entries must meet. For example, entries can only use amplified sound for music but not for voice; they cannot contain political campaigning; they cannot join the parade route from a side street; alcohol is not allowed; and entries that involve a driver must have a driver who is a least 18 with a valid license.

Perhaps the most encompassing guideline is that all parade entries must have a holiday theme.

One proposed rule prompted some discussion amongst commissioners. The new guidelines prohibit the throwing of candy from parade entries. Many other cities and towns have made similar rules about candy out of fear that children will run into the street and get hit or run over by a parade entry. As an alternative, candy can be handed out directly to people along the parade route.

A controversial Independence Day parade entry prompted the discussion of Hope Mills parade rules. An entry by local man Donnie Spell offended several people - enough that they complained to town council members.

Spell's entry included several antique tractors, at least one Confederate Flag and a trailer of watermelons. Those are all features Spell included in previous parade entries. This year Spell added two signs to the trailer of watermelons. A sign on each side of the trailer read "White History Month HUG WTE PPL." On the front side of the trailer - overlooked by many spectators - was an additional sign with an image that some consider racist. The antique advertisement sign included a picture of a "Picaninny" eating watermelon.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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