I'll admit the first time I heard of Fargo, North Dakota, was when the movie came out. The same was probably true for a lot of Americans. I still know very little about Fargo, but a friend in North Dakota who knows I'm a journalist asked me to write about Fargo.
I thought, what can I write about Fargo that would interest people there? Then it hit me- people like reading about silly and fun things. So I decided to research the wild and wacky laws that exist in Fargo. Many of these you wouldn't have heard of before. So in the interest of educating the people of Fargo, please find below five super weird Fargo laws you haven't heard of.
1. In Fargo, you need permission to exterminate a pigeon. The state law says that "no person, firm or corporation shall exterminate pigeons or other harmful wild birds without first having obtained a permit from the Fargo health department." Pigeons are subject to state-sanctioned pest control because they are considered a public nuisance if they reside within city limits. So stay away from those pesky pigeons if you don't have a permit!
2. Are you really into lentils and dried peas? Well, you better be a US citizen if you want to join North Dakota's Dry Pea and Lentil Council. The State Historical Society of North Dakota created this council in 1997 and brought in the rule that anyone wanting to join must be citizens. To be honest, I thought they would want as many members as they can get and not try to exclude any chickpea enthusiasts!
3. In Fargo, it is illegal to dance with a hat on or even wear a hat to a function where dancing is taking place. If you attend your prom wearing a hat, it is a criminal offense and could result in jail time! I'd advise leaving your hat at home in that case.
4. Charitable groups are allowed to hold stud poker games to raise money. But before you get too excited, this is restricted to just twice a year. So spread out those charity poker games every six months.
5. It's illegal to keep an elk in a sandbox in your own backyard. Not too sure how many people in Fargo own elk, but if you do, you better not let them sleep in your sandbox.
I did see a lot of fake weird laws being posted. It seems one person comes up with a silly rule, posts it on the internet, and then everyone believes it to be true. For example, many websites state that it is illegal to fall asleep in Fargo with your shoes. I did extensive research and couldn't find a reference to that in any Fargo or North Dakota rules. So feel free to have a nap wearing shoes.
Another one that gets repeated a lot is that in Fargo, you cant serve beer and pretzels together. While it’s illegal for people under the age of 21 to enter establishments that sell alcohol, a minor can eat at a place that serves alcohol in a separate room. This led to people making up the law that it's illegal to offer pretzels and beer together, which isn't the case.
People of Fargo should actually be proud of their lawmakers as there were far fewer weird laws than I have found in other cities across the USA.
So, how many of these four laws above have you broken? Hopefully not dancing with a hat on! People of Fargo should be proud of their lawmakers as there were far fewer weird laws than I have found in other cities across the USA.