While one would think that the theme song for any party should be “You Should Be Dancing,” that wasn’t the case in St George, Utah Fox News on Monday. Local police checked out a Halloween party over this past weekend to ensure that there was no dancing going on at the Monster Mash gathering. The city of St. George asserts that the organizers of the event, Heart of Dixie, did not follow the rules.
According to the St. George News report on the incident, some five or six St. George Police officers arrived at the Halloween party. The unexpected officers arrived at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Friday night. Brett Crocket, the owner of the entertainment venue where the event was taking place, said that the officers said that there was to be no dancing.
Heart of Dixie has held The Monster Mash for three years now. However, it is the first time that the event has been held in St. George. Jared Keddington, the organizer of the party believed he could have the party at a local outdoor entertainment venue called the Fiesta Fun Center. He later found that he could have his gathering there, but apparently “having fun” at the Fiesta Fun Center wasn’t to be allowed – due to the city and not due to the Fiesta Fun Center. As the story goes, a few days after organizing the event, Keddington was informed that he would need a special event permit issued by the city council in St. George.
So, Keddington went through the procedures necessary to get the special event permit, believing he had done everything right. Unfortunately, he was mistaken. An hour into the Monster Mash event, he learned that there were conditions accompanying the special event permit that he was not satisfying, according to Yahoo! News.
In St. George, there is an ordinance that states public dances are permitted – but only after receiving approval from the city council. According to Keddington, the local police told him that he couldn’t have a dance, and he was threatened with being taken to jail with a felony of inciting a riot. Marc Mortensen, a spokesperson for St. George, said that Keddington and his Heart of Dixie outfit couldn’t have followed the rules dictated by the city ordinance because the special event permit was applied for just three days before the event took place and the city council was not in session all of last week.
Mortenson claims that there would not have been an issue over the event if the permit had been requested a month before the date of the party. He claims that applying a month in advance is typically required for large events. How Keddington – or any other person attempting to do business in St. George – should have known any of this is not known. The city’s staff members reportedly tried to work things out within the three days before the event, but he was informed that the dance part of the event was not approved in that three-day timeframe. Keddington claims he never got that message about there being no dancing at the event. He also took issue with the way the exceptions to the event were worded and said it was impossible to comply with the exceptions.
Keddington said, “Things had been crossed out, and in hand was written, no dance activity permitted. On another page it was typed that the event must not be allowed to become a dance party due to random acts of dancing by patrons.” Therefore, this party event could have music, but no one was allowed to dance. Mortensen stated that the mayor of St. George and the city council will be looking at the ordinance again since this incident occurred. Mortensen tried to say that the dancing wasn’t the issue – as much as it definitely appears it was since the police stopped the dancing at the party. Of the backwards-appearing town, Keddington said that the process is discriminatory and said, “It’s not okay to tell people they can’t dance. It’s not okay to tell people they have to get a permit to dance.” With the type of hoops an entrepreneur needs to jump through to do business in St. George, this story most likely can’t be helping commerce in the city – assuming, of course, that people are allowed to jump in St. George without a permit.