Thursday, October 25, 2012

More About Barn Bash

Fall is a time when people here tend to gather for harvest and family and traditions.  A couple of weeks ago, I posted a little about our annual Barn Bash.  This tradition started in my husband's family around the time we started dating - I think they had only done it a couple of times before that.  Because his family is huge and scattered around the state, it can be hard to get everyone together so we try to keep the dates for gatherings like this the same from year to year to make planning easier.  We gather at the family cabin "up north" for the weekend and host extended family and close family friends for a reunion.
Each family signs up to bring dishes to pass and party supplies so that everyone is taken care of for the weekend.  The host families also bring charcoal to keep the grills going to feed the crowd.  Some families stay in the cabin, others bring campers or tents, stay in the barn or get hotel rooms in nearby towns.  
While the cabin is available with running water, we have mostly set up the barn to be able to host everyone back there for the whole weekend.  We have electrical in the barn and a separate hookup for the campers, there are beds in the loft of the barn where a lot of the older kids and younger adults stay, fridges for keeping food, a keg setup to keep beer on tap and large coolers of water & juice for the kids, an electric stove for heating food and baking, lots of crockpots in use at all times, port-a-potties, and woodstoves in both large main floor areas to keep everyone warm.

One side is set up as an entertaining area with old couches and chairs and tables - we even have an old restaurant booth in there.  Most everything has been brought up as people upgraded what they had in their houses or scored good finds at garage sales.  This is the side where the food is set up.  
This part can be closed up from the rest with its woodstove so it stays warm for the little kids and older folks.  The other side is larger and more open and is where we have music, ping-pong, air hockey, another small sitting area with couches and chairs and woodstove.  This side is also open to the loft so the heat can rise and warm the loft.  When we aren't using it for the party, all the big-boy toys (boats, snowmobiles, mowers, etc.) get stored in there as well.
Some go up earlier in the week, but most head up sometime on Friday and a horseshoe tournament takes place that night and we feast on chili & nachos and sit around the bonfire until the wee hours.  
Saturday morning begins with the kids carving pumpkins.

From 2011.
Each year we have tried to get all the pumpkins lined up with all the kids behind them - this year, the rain foiled that plan.  

Leave it to my kid who wasn't feeling great to carve a pumpkin with snot coming out of its nose...I can appreciate her sense of wry humor and her cousins gave it a thumbs up for being the grossest one...even over the throwing up pumpkins... 

Pumpkin Patrol from last year.
When they are finished, the kids normally take a ride called "The Pumpkin Patrol" on a trailer with some of the dads to deliver the pumpkins around our trails so they are in place for the haunted hayride.  After the pumpkins have been delivered, the kids are no longer allowed to go on the trails for the rest of the day so the dads can set everything up.  
The donut game from last year - with a little help.
Bobbing for apples last year.

Pumpkin Patrol is followed by a hot dogs & burgers lunch, games, and when the weather is nice there is usually a game of "older vs. younger" football.  Sometimes the kids are also taken on a hayride around the backroads - a nice break for the moms.  While they are gone, some of the older teenagers go off to decorate the haunted house (our second old cabin) and the dads go around the trails to work out their skits and do setup.  This year the rain was so bad that most of the day involved hanging out around the fires and campers chatting, playing ping-pong and air hockey, and lots of napping.  
One group hung out under the awning of one of the campers being goofy.  Another group hung out under a canopy they put next to the grill pit while they cooked the chicken for dinner.  We have two large grill pits made for cooking large meat for 100 people - one is a rectangle made of cement block and the other is a piece of circular cement drain - both are fitted with large metal grids to be able to raise and lower the charcoal and to be able to sandwich about 50 halves of chickens between two metal grids that can be flipped all at once.  This came about after the year we tried digging a pit to roast a pig and we ended up cooking it almost twice as long as it was supposed to be and it still wasn't cooked all the way.  
Saturday evening is the BIG dinner and each family contributes a dish.  As soon as dinner is finished, everyone starts changing into their costumes and those who are working in the haunted house or on the haunted hayride sneak off to get ready.  The younger kids, moms, and older guests all gather to take pictures of the costumes and wait to be picked up for the hayride.  There are normally so many people that it takes several hayrides to accommodate everyone.  Usually we have one wagon each of - younger kids, older kids & teens not doing the haunted house, Mom & Dad & their older friends, and the wives of the guys who are out on the trails.  Then the last group is usually the people who worked the haunted house.  When that wagon goes around, the guys on the trail catch a ride back after their skit and then the haunted house people re-set and do the haunted house for the guys on the trail.  This year was different with all of this too because it was so wet and getting colder.  The guys did a short loop on a different section of trail than usual and did a walking haunted trail that led to the haunted house.  They only did two walking groups and mostly just the kids went.  
The Princess had planned far ahead what she wanted to do but was feeling a bit under the weather and I didn't want her to be in the haunted house away from where I could see her so we set up her creepy fortune teller booth under a canopy at the end of the walking haunted trail - she was a big hit with her cousins.
Little Man, however, wanted nothing to do with all this creepiness and refused to even wear his Power Ranger costume - although the glow-in-the-dark glasses his aunt gave him were a big hit.  Thankfully this party gives us time for him to get used to the Halloween stuff before its really trick-or-treat time!
Me in my green hooded vest scored from the consignment store.
After the hayride and haunted house, everyone gathers back for more hanging out around the fires catching up and discussing all aspects of life.  It is a great bonding time and a lot of "solving the problems of the world" takes place, haha.  On Sunday morning, people slowly trickle out of bed for breakfast and cleanup.  Most everyone hits the road home by noon.  We have had rain, snow, sunshine and temps between 85 and 20 degrees throughout the years and it is still a highlight of the year for everyone in the family no matter what.  Its a fun tradition that we are blessed to have.

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