City steps in to rescue Hibbing street dance

PHOTO: Peter Rood, Flickr CC

The Hibbing Daily Tribune reports that the city of Hibbing will step in to save the Jubilee Street Dance held each June in this Mesabi Iron Range town.

The Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce had previously announced it would no longer organize the event due to logistical challenges. The street dance shuts down Hibbing’s Howard Street to traffic and opens it to alcohol sales and fancy-free pedestrians. In years past, the good times got wild, causing one incident in 2012 described as a “melee.”

Law enforcement stepped up in recent years so there have been few major incidents, though scads of minor ones.

According to Kelly Grinsteinner’s story, the city of Hibbing had almost immediately planned to rescue the dance once the chamber made its announcement. But I wouldn’t say they were thrilled about it.

[Hibbing Mayor Rick] Cannata said that he’s been receiving phone calls from area mayors about receiving phone calls from [Chamber president Lory] Fedo inquiring about who organizes and how their respective street dances are conducted.

“I’m pissed now,” he said, adding that he doesn’t appreciate getting stabbed in the back. “… The Chamber is the one who decided to pull out. But for this year, let’s get going on this.”

Dicklich suggested hiring an event organizer, one who would work with the vendors, bands and whatever else may need to be addressed.

If you’re thinking of swooping in to make some fast cash preventing melees at the street dance, you may want to reconsider:

The council gave Dicklich up to $800 to hire someone to organize the street dance for the city, with the requirement that that person is present during the event as well.

There are easier ways to make $800, to be sure. But if you managed to survive the experience you’d be tested and ready to run the U.S. consulate in a war-torn nation. I’m sure that would pay better.

Street dances are an Iron Range summer tradition. Through the Fourth of July holiday and the cavalcade of small town festivals before and after each weekend brings some opportunity to drink and cavort in places where drinking and cavorting is normally illegal. You know, for fun. And people do enjoy them, so long as they don’t have to clean up or live in the town where they are happening.

My wife and I hit it off at the Hibbing street dance in 1998 and we continue to wonder A) why we were there, and B) what strange force in the universe led to find each other in that teeming mass of rum-tinted humanity. A whirlwind romance and seventeen years of marriage later we look forward to spending the street dance in our forest compound 27 miles from Hibbing.

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