Smooth start, abrupt ending to 20/20
By Annette Tait
People trickled into the Betty Hagel Memorial Civic Center last Friday evening as Center’s first all-night dance party got underway. Hired security checked all backpacks and bags, warned attendees of the event’s no alcohol policy, and asked that they spread the word.
In the kitchen, Center-Stanton Booster Club members prepared and served snacks as the light show and music began. People circulated around the room, listening to the music and the DJ and visiting with each other. All told, about 250 people purchased tickets, either through online pre-sales or at the door.
“There were people from all over the state,” organizer Zeke Norris said, noting that Center-Stanton high school students and some recent graduates were also at the event. “I have nothing but good comments online from people who attended.”
Originally scheduled from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., the Oliver County Sheriff’s Department closed the event about 2:30 a.m. due to people who were of legal age and consuming alcohol were mingling in the parking lot with people who were not of age. According to the North Dakota Century Code, even if there had been a permit to sell alcohol at the event, persons under the age of 21 are not allowed in the area where alcohol is sold or consumed.
“The average age there was probably 20, but there were plenty of people who were more than 21 years old,” Norris said, noting that the event’s no alcohol policy applied indoors, but that there had not been a policy for the parking lot.