There’s no better way to swing into summer than with the annual Barn Dance held at Primrose Farm on May 21. With music provided by Shout Section Big Band, directed by Brett Dean, and dance lessons courtesy of Vargo’s Dance in Geneva, this evening under the stars at the Farm promises to be a jive-hot step back in time.
Not one to rest on the laurels of previous exceedingly popular event, cancelled due to COVID restrictions, Manager of Farm Programs and Interpretive Services Alison Jones and the farm staff have kicked things up a notch for this year’s high-stepping night of fun and food and fancy footwork.
But for anyone whose footwork may be less than fancy, the folks from Vargo’s Dance will be providing dance lessons to help dancers get in the – well, swing of things. The Farm will open their doors at 5:50pm to allow plenty of time to check-in before dance lessons begin at 6:15pm.
And learning swing dance can be that much more fun if one dresses in costumes of the era. Anyone wearing period appropriate clothes from the 1930s and 1940s can choose to participate in a costume competition. This contest will reward creativity and authenticity in capturing the era through vintage clothes and accessories, so get ready to raid grandma’s closet or sift through area thrift stores.
Just as taking a break from the rigors of seasonal chores at events such as barn dances was a popular form of entertainment for farm families back in the 1930s, so was the chance to show off the fruits of their harvest and talents in their kitchen with a pie-baking contest. In the spirit of keeping it authentic, guests at this year’s barn dance are encouraged to show off more than their Lindy Hop by bringing a home-made pie to compete for bragging rights. During band breaks, pies will be judged based on appearance and taste. Winners will be announced during the final break of the evening. At that point, let the eating begin!
“The pies will be served on a first-come, first-served basis,” said Jones. “Previously, this part of the evening has been a big hit, and hopefully we’ll have enough for everyone to at least enjoy a little taste of these home-made delicacies. It makes for a fun, community event.”
But if you’d rather pass on the pie, there are plenty of other food options added to the evening’s fun and entertainment. The firepit will be lit and while enthusiastic observers or energetic dancers are taking a break from the Fox Trotting and Jitterbugging they can head over to the fire and enjoy the sounds of the band while watching the sun set. Fernando’s Street Kitchen will be on site with their food trailer grilling up tacos and other delicious items.
Dancing in the barn can be an energetic pursuit, so when dancers need to cool their heels, tractor-drawn wagon rides around the farm fields will give them a chance to catch their breaths. “They’ll get to see the Farm in a whole new light,” said Jones. Twinkle lights and kerosene lanterns given the farm yard a festive glow and vases of fresh-cut flowers also add to the party atmosphere.
And lest one forgets that all this food, fun and music is taking place at a working farm, several of Primrose Farm’s resident animals will be overlooking the fun as well. Most of the farm animals will be accessible for petting in the lots and pastures closest to the barn.
The live music and dancing begins at 7pm until 10pm. Advance tickets are $17 per person through May 20 while those purchased at the door are $20 each. Food and beverages are additional. Primrose Farm is located at 5N726 Crane Road. For more details, visit primrosefarm.org.