Cut loose, Footloose: Town cancels dance because it's too close to a church
Published Thursday, February 9, 2017 8:02AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 9, 2017 2:05PM EST
Kevin Bacon is urgently needed in the small Oklahoma town of Henryetta, where a “party pooper” bent on enforcing a decades-old city ordinance has forced the cancellation of a Valentine’s Day dance.
Just like Kevin Bacon’s character Ren McCormack in the classic 1980s movie “Footloose,” Joni Insabella is now fighting an arcane no-dancing rule.
Insabella owns Rosie Lavon’s Marketplace, a vintage shop and event space. She was planning to host a Valentine’s Dance there next week, until someone protested and said the party would violate a 38-year-old morality ordinance that forbids dancing within about 152 metres of a church.
Rosie Lavon’s Marketplace is located roughly 91 metres from the Henryetta Church of Christ.
“Even though the ordinance had not been enforced for the past 40 years that it’s been on the books, one person kind of created a firestorm about this and complained,” Insabella told CTV News Channel on Thursday.
Insabella, whose husband is the town attorney, said the couple was “accused of being lawbreakers and encouraging lawbreaking.”
“So to avoid divisiveness in the community, my husband felt that it was best that we go ahead and cancel (the dance),” she said.
Mayor Jennifer Clason told local media she always knew about the old city ordinance, but it has never been enforced. Police Chief Steve Norman said his department has no interest in doing so.
Although Insabella has cancelled the Valentine’s Day dance, she and her husband are seeking to abolish the ordinance. City councillors will consider the matter during a Feb. 22 meeting.
Insabella said she hopes to reschedule the party and “have a really big celebration dance.”
The woman who complained about the dance revealed herself in a local TV interview. Insabella said she has “absolutely no idea who she is,” but called her a “party pooper.”
With files from The Associated Press