WANNA HAVE A DANCE?
YOU'LL NEED A PERMIT

Hat tip to historical member Dan Conrad for spotting this bit of public information in the January 13, 1893 Cokato Commoner.

ORDINANCE NO. 20

AN ORDINANCE FOR LICENSING PUBLIC DANCES

The Village Council of the Village of Cokato do ordain as follows:

Sec. I
That no public dance or dances shall be held in the Village of Cokato without first obtaining a license therefore from the village recorder, for the sum of not less than twenty-five dollars. Any licenses so granted shall expire at 11:30 o‘clock p.m. the same day as issued.

Sec. II
Provided that no license shall be granted except to the owner of the building or premises where such dance is to be held.

Sec. III
Any person or persons violating any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

Sec. IV
That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its publication.

Approved Jan. 2nd 1893.

One month later, the Commoner claimed that due to the passage of this ordinance “an entire colony of Quakers in Pennsylvania, having learned that Cokato is one of the purest spots on earth, intend to move out here in the spring”.

To the best of our knowledge, those Pennsylvania Quakers never arrived. (Though a group did establish a meeting house in Middleville Township, where the Sylvan Cemetery is now located.)

And the "dance" ordinance? It was repealed by the village council in 1901.

As the band Van Halen stated so eloquently: "dance the night away!"

This article first appeared in the February 2008 edition of In The Midst Of (V 28, No 1)