MURPHYSBORO — A longstanding, iconic symbol of the Murphysboro Apple Festival will be allowed to stand — indefinitely.
For decades, Murphysboro residents have placed lawn chairs on the sidewalk along Walnut Street in anticipation of the Grand Parade that takes place on the Saturday morning of the Apple Festival — sometimes weeks in advance. Some are folded, some are open and standing, some are secured together with a chain and lock of some kind.
This year was no exception.
This year, though, a city alderman said he witnessed another man almost trip over chairs that were put on on the sidewalk days in advance of the 2017 event.
Alderman Russell Brown, a retired police officer who chairs the council's public safety committee, asked fellow City Council members to consider some sort of time limit on how soon the chairs could be placed on the sidewalk.
City Council members responded to the issue at their most recent meeting, at times with humor, and considered how soon was too soon to put the chairs out, or how long the chairs could be allowed to stay.
"I don't want anybody to get hurt, but I don't see a problem with it," Alderman Mike Bastien said. "But it's once a year, and people are excited about the Apple Festival and we ought to be glad that we're having all those people coming to celebrate Apple Festival, spending money in our community."
Gary McComb said he wondered how the city would enforce it and wondered how one would know which chairs belonged to whom; he suggested leaving the issue as it was.
"Removing the chairs, it will be like removing the leaf out of the apple," Alderwoman Gloria Campos said.
Alderwoman Jance Curry-Witzman, a singer who has performed at several Apple Festival events, summed it up this way: "I understand why it's a safety concern, but I also think it's pretty neat ... When people come in from out of town, they're just in amazement that people actually have chairs out and nobody steals them. They're out there in the same place, and people leave them and they're excited ... I'm OK with it."