If you danced and drank at the same time in the city of Knoxville, Tennessee, before March 27, 2018, you broke the law, y’all. In a funny twist of government fate, it seems that city officials discovered the antiquated law on the books dating back to the 1960s. Yes, Knoxville was a real life land of Footloose for decades. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, according to Knox News, was looking into an ordinance on rooftop bars when the antiquated law was discovered.
As it turns out, this little law had slipped by decades of city workers, and Mayshark posted the funny coincidence on his Facebook page, sharing images and the story.
Funny things that happen when you work in government: A few months ago, the Mayor stopped by my office and asked if I knew if the City had any restrictions on rooftop bars. A member of the Metropolitan Planning Commission had asked her the question, after inquiries from a local bar owner. We dug around a little and determined that no, there were no restrictions on rooftop bars. “But,” I said to her, “I think we do still have a law against drinking and dancing.” The Mayor, who has been known to enjoy both of those activities, sometimes in public, said, “Wait, we have what?”
We dug around a little more, found the ordinance in question, and then had some meetings to figure out if anyone knew why we had the law in the first place. Nobody really did. It seemed to date from the 1960s. One can speculate about what kinds of mingling City Councils of that era were concerned with discouraging, but in any case, there was general agreement that the law, rarely enforced, did not have any particular merits. And it made us sound like the town in Footloose.
So I am pleased to say that, after everything was put in proper legal form, City Council tonight voted to abolish the prohibition in its entirety. No longer will you have to stand at shows, holding a beer and wondering just how much backside wiggle you can get away with before someone calls the Shimmy Squad. So, ASSUMING YOU ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DRINK (required governmental caveat), get a cold one tonight and dance the night away!
The original ordinance, in the photo above, stated, “No beer shall be sold on premises upon any part of which dancing is allowed, unless the cleared area provided for dancing shall contain at least one hundred forty-four square feet of floor space.”
This story perfectly highlights just how silly bureaucracy can be, but thankfully, the residents of Knoxville can finally drink and dance to their delight. Start with our Apple Pie Moonshine Punch, with Gatlinburg’s own Sugarlands Distilling.