When Saturday night disco fever swept the country, it apparently bypassed Henryetta, a town of 7,000 which may be the only place in the nation to outlaw public dancing and live snakes.
Last weekend, supporters of the right-to-dance movement held "The Greater Henryetta Snake Stomp" to satirize the snake and dance bans. Police arrested promoter Jim Whittman and charged him with holding a public dance.
"It's not a dance," Whittman protested from the revival tent where his daughter Tracy and a boyfriend were stomping rubber reptiles to a disco drummer.
What may appear little offbeat is a serious matter to the dance enthusiasts, who claim they will take their case to the Supreme Court, if necessary. The controversy started last June when two out-of-town businessmen began remodelliong the old J.C. Penney building on Main Street into a discotheque.
Opponents to Public Dancing, a coalition of Pentecostals, Baptists and Nazarenes, found a seldom-used 1957 city ordinance prohibiting public dancing within the city limits.
Both sides asked the city council for a decision. The council sidestepped the issue by calling a special election Aug. 29 in which the ordinance was upheld 851 to 504.