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Lighting Up the Barn

Barn Dance from the stageI have a hate-hate relationship with Christmas lights. That’s why I think I’m really subconsciously punishing myself for some ghastly past life experience every time the Barn Dance comes around.

Five Acre School’s “Beat the Blues Barn Dance” is the PSO’s big fund raiser of the year. The dance, held at the close of Winter to “beat the Winter blues”, is put on in what was originally known as the Cedarfield Barn, built in 1937 and registered as a Washington State Heritage Barn. Now, the barn is the landmark feature of the “Big Barn Farm”, growers of exotic Andean root crops, goji berries and other “superfoods”, and home to a great Five Acre family.

The barn is a landmark because, simply put, it is huge. Did I say huge? Sorry, I meant ginormous. Greater than the ambitions of Alexander. More vast than the cosmos as we know it. And I’ve been climbing up and down ladders trying to fill that vast space with party lighting for six of the event’s seven year history.

poster2I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, or to imply how beefy my calves might be (they’re not). I’m presenting myself as a qualified witness, testifying to the enormity of such a project as a whole, to the immenseness of a small school community pulling off an event of, well, such grandeur (…um… if I do say so myself… ehem…).

We are blessed with a community of invaluable parent (and student) volunteers. And, while they are always up to something to further the success of our school throughout the year, the Barn Dance is when I really stand back and murmur “wow” in a voice made soft and tiny by marvellous awe:

Outright fleets of families are underway to put this thing on. There is an entire stage to build, a sound system to install, lights (well, we’ve talked about that already), bars for bake sales and beverages to construct, heaters to set up, silent auction areas to decorate, a photo booth, ticket sales… A whole kids area outside with face painting, soap bubbles, dirt piles, and straw bales – we bring in enough straw bales to climb to the moon if you stacked them on top of one another (ok, not really, but, ya know…).

And I haven’t even mentioned all the stuff that goes on before the dance. Booking bands, organizing permits and advertising, pulling a raffle together (we’re proud of our prizes – all donated by our community‘s local businesses and families, for which we are very thankful!).

Like I said, immense!

But then there’s the payoff, when the barn really lights up. And that’s not when I get to throw a switch and hope the breakers don’t blow. It’s when all the people pour in. Their presence makes the entire space become a place of wonder and magic, for children and adults alike. And all of our hard work goes completely unnoticed in the best of possible ways as our guests have a wonderful time embracing a last, positive vestige of our grey winter.

Pay no attention to the man community behind the curtain… ;)

If you’d like to see more of the dance, and a bunch of other stuff for that matter, visit our Facebook page. Carol Pope, a wonderful community member, also took tons of wonderful pictures at the dance and posted them here. Thanks, Carol!