JAIL FLOAT BANNED FROM NORTH CAROLINA CHRISTMAS PARADE

CLAYTON, N.C., Dec. 5  -- Officials in a North Carolina city said a bail bonds business will not return for this year's Christmas parade following last year's jail-themed float.

Jim Godfrey, president of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, said a local bail bond company will not be participating in the upcoming Christmas parade after the owners s took exception to being told they could not bring back elements of last year's float, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported Thursday.

The  float at last year's parade was led by a group of young girls wearing black and white prisoner costumes and Santa hats while being chained together with oversized novelty handcuffs and led by a fake police officer. The float itself followed the girls and featured a fake jail cell filled with inmates.

"I told them that we feel that is not in the Christmas spirit," Godfrey said. "I tried to reach a compromise I thought was fair and allow them in the parade but asked them to not have people walking in front of the float wearing shackles and chains."

The owners said the float has been used by various groups around town to raise money for causes including the American Red Cross and Easter Seals.

"I think it's ironic that if the community thinks our jail is so negative, then why do so many people want to borrow our jail?" Dawn Daniel, the owner of the bail bond company said.

The couple said they participated in the parade three times and won the award for best float in their first appearance.

The Chamber of Commerce said the company was refunded its $145 parade entry fee.