WAUSAU, Wis. (CBS NEWS) — Wausau, Wisconsin, made headlines earlier this week after reports that it enacted an ordinance to ban snowball fights. The news snowballed, prompting the city’s officials to set the record straight. 

The Wausau deputy police chief and the mayor created a video to clarify what the ordinance exactly prohibits, CBS News’ Adriana Diaz reported. And the city council will consider decriminalizing snowball fights at a meeting next week.

“These news sources stated that we had a brand new ordinance enacted by our mayor, prohibiting having a snowball fight,” said deputy police chief, Matt Barnes, in front of a group of police officers engaging in a snowball fight. 

Barnes said the ordinance was enacted by the Wausau common council in 1962.

The city ordinance bans throwing projectiles and lumps snowballs into the same category as rocks, missiles and other items that can cause serious harm.


“Kids think they’re throwing snowballs, and they’re actually throwing ice balls” said Officer Mason Hagenbucher.

The ban is only effective on public property, and not something that’s often enforced.

“This ordinance is in place for the safety of our community. The Wausau police department has used this ordinance and issued citations about 10 times in the last 15 years,” Barnes said. 

Only two of those citations were in relation to snowball fights. 

“A fun snowball fight is a fun snowball fight and that’s not something we enforce this ordinance with,” Barnes said.© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.