Old Cheyenne Law Technically Bans Christmas Caroling In Public
In 1897, The City of Cheyenne passed an ordinance prohibiting public performances without a permit. 121 years later, singing Christmas carols in public could technically subject you to a $750 fine or six months in jail.
Municipal Code § 5.36.030 states:
"Persons desiring to deliver a public address or engage in singing or playing of musical instruments or give any other form of entertainment or advertise upon any streets, alleys, sidewalks or other thoroughfares or public property of the city must state the location for and the time when such address, entertainment or advertising is to be given and obtain a written permit from the mayor."
Although the statute was revised to allow street musicians to perform downtown, it's still illegal to sing on public property without a written permit.
"Would the Cheyenne Police Department arrest every member of an elementary school choir for belting out “Jingle Bells” in the Depot Plaza? Of course not," Anthony Viddard wrote in a 2016 Wyoming Liberty Group blog. "But, could a citizen wind up with a hefty citation for Christmas caroling on a public sidewalk? Under the current ordinance, yes, it is possible."
If someone was ticketed for unlawful singing in Cheyenne, the ordinance would likely be declared unconstitutional in court, according to Viddard.
"Bad laws aren’t always created with malicious intent; and the worse the law, the less likely it is to be enforced. However, we must all be vigilant of laws that stand even the slightest chance of limiting our constitutional liberties and fight to see them repealed," he argued.