So, smile. That wasn’t a solution to the region’s misery, but George Phillips, the mayor of Pocatello, got his city council to pass the “smile ordinance.” That tongue-in-cheek law made it illegal not to smile.
In 1987, a reporter for the Idaho State Journal discovered the old ordinance and made the city aware of it again. It so happened that the American Bankers Association was running a national advertising campaign featuring outdated laws in order to convince the US Congress to modernize banking laws.
The outdated ordinance fit perfectly with the Association’s needs. A delegation traveled to Pocatello to “officially” declare the city the Smile Capital of the U.S.
The city has embraced the title, somewhat enthusiastically, ever since with a Smile Days annual event.