Residents of a town in Florida may be fined for performing Christmas carols on public sidewalks if a proposed city ordinance passes, a citizen is warning.
City commissioners in Winter Park, Florida, will vote later this month on whether to pass an ordinance regulating street performers and creating “designated public performance areas” around the town’s Central Business District.
But a Winter Park resident, however, says the ordinance would also ban Christmas caroling, and could extend to prohibiting certain clothing or signs.
“Winter Park City Commissioners voted to approve a proposed City ordinance (law) that would make Christmas caroling illegal on the Park Avenue public sidewalk,” resident Paul Vonder Heide said in a letter to the editor published in the Winter Park Observer.
“State Law provides that City ordinance violations carry a maximum 60 days in jail and a $500 fine,” warns Vonder Heide. “In over 130 years as a city, Christmas caroling has never been a crime on the Park Avenue public sidewalk.”
Vonder Heide is calling on residents to help “Stop Winter Park politicians from stealing Christmas!” and urging townsfolk to call and email the mayor and city commissioners to “vote no” on the street performer ordinance.
“P.S.” Vonder Heide adds, “Even wearing a Christmas Sweater or holding a sign with the words ‘Merry Christmas,’ or reading the Christmas story from the Bible could be illegal on the Park Avenue public sidewalk if the so-called street performer ordinance is approved.”
The city commission explains their circumvention of the First Amendment by claiming the ordinance would improve quality of life and will positively affect public health, safety and welfare of the city’s residents, but is banning Christmas caroling going too far? Sound off below.