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Valentine’s Day dance canceled thanks to Footloose-era ordinance

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HENRYETTA, Oklahoma — A sweetheart dance set to take place on Valentine’s Day in Henryetta, Oklahoma, has been canceled due to a 1979 ordinance prohibiting dancing within 500 feet of a church.

Where’s Kevin Bacon when you need him?

It started when Joni Insabella and Shelly Riveria, owners of Rosie LaVon’s Marketplace, decided to hold a dance at their store. The pair even made flyers to spread the word. However when the flyer was shared on Facebook by the Henryetta Chamber of Commerce, all hell broke loose.

Concerned citizen Robbie Kinney originally brought up the ordinance in a Facebook comment, and asked city officials to look into the matter.

“The ordinance says no dancing allowed. It’s illegal,” Kinney told CNN affiliate WBRC. As ridiculous as this all may seem, she’s not wrong.

Rosie LaVon’s Marketplace is only 300 feet away from Henryetta’s Church of Christ, and the ordinance is clear — no dancing within 500 feet.

Although the dance was officially canceled, police chief Steven Norman says police wouldn’t have done anything to stop the dance.

“It’s one of those ordinances that was passed long before I ever came, and we have no interest in enforcing it,” Norman told WBRC.

While the sweetheart dance may have been a bust, this isn’t the end for Insabella and Riveria. An Elvis tribute night has been scheduled for late February in the same place.

And God help anyone who tries to stop the king’s hips from shaking.

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