Ban on Girl's Mistletoe Sales Sparks Nationwide Orders

By:  Jack Kenny
Ban on Girl's Mistletoe Sales Sparks Nationwide Orders

An 11-year-old who was banned from selling mistletoe in a public park in downtown Portland, Oregon now has more orders for packages of the popular holiday plant than she can handle.

"There was never enough mistletoe for this," said Ashton Root, whose daughter Madison was ordered to stop when she began selling mistletoe at Skidmore Fountain in downtown Portland Saturday morning. The story of the aborted enterprise was aired on Portland TV station KATU Sunday evening. National networks and websites carried the news, and by Tuesday afternoon people from all over the country had contacted the KATU newsroom, wanting to buy the youthful entrepreneur's mistletoe.

"The newsroom has heard from CEOs, Army captains and people in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, California, and Texas," the station reported on its website. "And those are only the people who happened to mention where they live."

The reaction is reminiscent of the national attention a similar incident received in the summer of 2010, when Oregon's Multnomah County health officials forced a seven-year-old to shut down her lemonade stand because she didn't have a food handler's license. That inspired the formation of the Lemonade Revolt Group on Facebook and a commentary by NBC's Tonight Show host Jay Leno.

"In Portland, Oregon, a seven-year-old girl's lemonade stand was shut down by the police because she didn't get a $120 business license," the late-night comedian said. "Of course, on the bright side, by closing her business she's now eligible for a government bailout."

Root, who hails from Lake Oswego, about seven miles south of Portland, said she was hoping to raise a little money to contribute to the payment of the sizable bill her father will receive for the braces her dentist said will cost $4,800.

She cut and chopped mistletoe from her uncle's farm in Newberg, hand-wrapped and tied them with a red bow, and was offering them for sale at $4 a package at the downtown park where people gather for activities ranging from making speeches and music, to protesting. It is also the venue for the Portland Saturday Market.

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