Trouble in Elmore City

The Footloose Low-down

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday. We again enjoyed worshiping at First UMC of Elmore City. We went to Sunday School first and spent a good deal of class time sharing with the class the ins and outs of what NOMADS do. Most of them had never heard of NOMADS before we came here – not a surprise. After hearing our story, the Peacemakers quilting group wants to give us some quilts or prayer blankets for the auction at annual meeting to help raise money for projects. That would be really nice!! The class was using a devotional book written by the pastor’s husband for their class study book and we really enjoyed the reading and discussion. the-country-road-through-the-book-of-matthew-by-mike-lovettLater, Mike Lovett, the pastor’s husband, actually gave each NOMADS couple a copy of the book, The Country Road Through the Book of Matthew. The section we reviewed in SS today was quite good. You might want to download a sample. After worship we had a ”pot luck” dinner in the fellowship hall. Isn’t it interesting how in different parts of the country we use different words for the same thing – pot luck, pitch-in, covered dish – all the same thing – and no matter what you call it, it’s always a great meal. The people in Elmore City didn’t disappoint. We won’t need any more food today!

It just so happens that we were able to discuss the movie “Footloose” and events that occurred in Elmore City with people who were actually here at the time. We even talked to a gentleman who was on the school board at the time (he was a little hard of hearing). The year was 1980. There had never been a prom dance for Elmore City High School because since the founding of the city in 1898, public dancing had been illegal by ordinance. The story goes that some of the adults and students took the issue to the school board requesting permission to have a prom with dancing. It became a huge issue dividing the community. According to the school board member’s wife, some of the pastors were totally against it, but that her pastor “a young man” supported the kids. She said he found all the places in the Bible that refer to dancing and then went to the school board meeting and read them to the board ending by saying that “if it’s in the Bible, it’s not wrong.” Some were in favor of it because “it would keep the kids from going up on the ‘mountain’ and drinking beer and dancing.”

Minutes of the Famous March 3, 1980 Elmore City School Board Meeting

In the end it was decided they could have the prom with dancing, but with stiff supervision. The students could not come and go and they “corralled ‘em up and didn’t let ‘em out til the next morning after breakfast.” The event put Elmore City on the map with reporters from San Francisco, New York and People Magazine all in town to report on the prom. The media coverage caught the attention of the screenwriter and the movie “Footloose” was based on the events.  The locals were all also quick to tell us that some of the stories and the movie were not so accurate portrayals of their sweet little town. Some didn’t want to even talk about it – seemingly embarrassed by it all.

Click to read the entertaining (if not completely factual) article

We found this story in the archives of People with some of the perhaps not so factual information. There was also a recreation of the 1980 prom on the 30th anniversary. We found several other articles that (if you are REALLY interested) you can find with a simple Internet search.



3 thoughts on “Trouble in Elmore City”

  1. Thank you so much, really like following your NOMADS trip. Spreading the word about NOMADS. Stay safe and many blessings to you
    Mike A


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