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In This Oklahoma Town, Keep On Your Sunday Shoes


There's been a bit of an uproar in the Oklahoma town of Henryetta after a Valentine's Day dance there was canceled, apparently because it was going to take place too close to a church. For many of us, that might bring to mind a mythical town where all the kids wanted to do was dance and Kevin Bacon was the one who was going to lead them to the Promised Land. Here's Rachel Hubbard of member station KOSU.

RACHEL HUBBARD, BYLINE: Joni Insabella wanted something fun to do in her hometown. She recently opened a vintage shop with an empty second floor, and she decided it was good for one thing - dancing. So they started planning one for Valentine's Day.

JONI INSABELLA: We had not thought anything about that very old 40-year-old city ordinance - didn't even cross our mind.

HUBBARD: The chamber of commerce promoted the event, and people in town got excited. There was just one problem. The town has a law banning dances within 500 feet of a church.

INSABELLA: You know, and I did talk to the police. And I said, hey, you guys, you know, are you going to come and arrest us if we have a dance? And they thought it was funny.

HUBBARD: The community was divided, and Joni's husband, who is also the city attorney in Henryetta, said even though it's an old ordinance, she should call the whole thing off. So she did. It all sounds a lot like the 1984 movie "Footloose," which was based on a similar event in another Oklahoma town.


KEVIN BACON: (As Ren) And there was a time for this law but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life.

HUBBARD: Overturning the ordinance is on the city council agenda later this month. Insabella says they're planning a summer event to celebrate - dancing in the streets - and people hope actor Kevin Bacon will make an appearance. For NPR News, I'm Rachel Hubbard.

(SOUNDBITE OF KENNY LOGGINS SONG, "FOOTLOOSE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rachel Hubbard is a 20-year news veteran and serves as KOSU's executive director.

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