While the first snow blanketed New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, a small town in Wisconsin made it to the news with a snowball ban.
Locals and visitors in Wausau - which has a population of nearly 134,000 - face an administrative ban if they throw snowballs on public property such as sidewalks, streets, parks, and schools.
In an interview with the local TV channel WSAW, Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke confirmed the ban, highlighting that it is there for a reason.
The ban defends public safety, the Mayor said, pointing out that it is a matter of common sense not to throw objects at people, including snowballs.
In that sense, we treat snowballs as any other projectiles, such as rocks or arrows, the Mayor added. However, the ban is not applicable to private property. The ordinance is not new, officials said. It was introduced several years ago in an attempt to make people stop throwing projectiles at public property.
Wausau Officer Mason Hagenbucher supported the ban saying that although children think they are throwing snow, a snowball could contain dangerous hard ice or stones. Another reason for the ordinance is to protect the city from litigation, Mielke added.
However, the officials could not recall the last time when a Wausau resident was fined for throwing a snowball. Wausau is not the only one town in Wisconsin to impose snowball bans. Six other municipalities issued similar ordinances.
Last year, Dane Best, a nine-year-old boy from Severance, Colorado, managed to convince town officials to remove a 100-year-old ban on snowball fights.
Dane and his friends had previously violated the ban without realizing it. Once he discovered that the snowball flight is illegal in his hometown, Dane decided to do something about it.
He gathered more than 20 signatures toward a petition on the issue. Apart from that, he also gave a speech in front of the Severance Town Board.
Dane pointed out that the ban was imposed nearly a century ago, and it was now ''outdated.'' He also highlighted that ''today's children need a reason to play outside and have a snowball fight like their peers around the world.'' The Town Board was impressed by Dane's speech and agreed to revoke the ban.
The snowball fight restrictions are no stranger to Europe too. Last year, headteacher Ges Smith from the Jo Richardson Community School in Dagenham, East London, banned its students from touching the snow, citing safety reasons.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement that snowball fights should not be allowed in public spaces?