Bucolic, Sophisticated, Uptempo: Glynwood's Barn-Dance Gala


 Popular shindig with a rustic twist shindig returns

Story by Alison Rooney

For those who didn’t get their fill of boot stompin’ and barn dancin’ at Glynwood Farm’s gala last year, opportunity awaits, as this popular shindig with a rustic twist shindig returns to the farm’s beautiful new barn for a second go-round on September 11th, 2010.

Once again, party-goers will turn off the road on Route 301, head in through the woods, and emerge into the instantly bucolic environs of the farm.  By all accounts, last year’s very successful event paired elegance and rusticity, as a working barn was transformed into a “country glam” (the prescribed dress code) party room.  Globe lights imparted a golden glow to the red and yellow gingham tablecloths and hay was strewn becomingly, as the music of Uncle Wade drew the crowd of over 180 away from their tables

A view of the 2009 gala.

of grown-locally cuisine onto the improvised dance floor. The idea for this event came from Glynwood’s Director of Development, Christie Williams, who pitched it to the Board of directors. At the end of his description, all were excited, according to this year’s Barn Dance Committee Chair and Board member, Deborah McManus, who said “sure, I’d love to” when asked to head it up.

Dancers in action at the 2009 event.

As at last year’s event, guests are “encouraged to be ridiculous,” said McManus, who described the intended atmosphere as “informal – but celebratory.” An outdoors cocktail party will start things off, with big tractors greeting attendees, a “guess the weight of this pig” contest, silly photo shoot stations, and bales of hay set up as seating at various scenic spots around the property. Easels with displays indicating what exactly is going on in these vistas will be on hand, for, as McManus emphasizes, “this is very much a working farm and we want people to know just what goes on here.” Just what goes on at Glynwood is becoming more known to the local community, and that is intentional.  Glynwood’s “vision” as stated on their Web site is

a revival of farming and a revitalization of rural communities throughout the Northeast. We foresee harmonious working farmscapes supporting energetic local economies and vibrant communities. We anticipate that consumers throughout the region will have ready access to fresh, healthful food produced by local farmers who practice good land stewardship and environmentally sustainable agriculture. We intend to continue exerting thoughtful and energetic leadership in helping communities to realize this vision.

 According to McManus, Glynwood’s hope is that the community of Philipstown will become increasingly involved with their goals. It is with that in mind that many more community events have taken place over the past few years, including the barn raising, and family days, where children can enjoy the animals. In October, Glynwood will again host a Haldane School Foundation benefit event.

Vera Giordano (l) of Vera's Philipstown Farm Market and 2010 Gala Chair Deborah McManus chat at the 2009 event.

Glynwood’s mission plays a part in the Barn Dance as well.  In addition to  all food and wines being regionally sourced (the catering will be done by New Paltz’s Main Course), there will be a farmer associated with the Glynwood “Keep Farming” program seated at every table. Under the “Keep Farming” initiative, Virginia Kasinki of Glynwood goes into northeastern communities and meets with both farmers and the non-farming community, seeking dialogue and solutions which, as McManus describes it, “realistically keep farms from going broke.”  The “Keep Farming” methodology states that solutions to these problems must be “identified and implemented by the community itself.”

Some of the funds raised through live auction at this year’s gala will be directed towards the creation of a new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) garden at Glynwood. According to Director of Development Christie Williams, “Our current CSA gardens serve 70 families” but we have 100 more on the waiting list.  Creating a new garden is more than simply cutting some ground because our gardens are models of nutrient dense farming practices.  Field crops were once much more nutritious than they are today, because farmers once understood the need to replenish their soil.

Farm-related auction items from the 2009 event.

In our new garden we will make “soil amendments” with ground up minerals, which feed the micro-organisms in the soil that make the soil and plants healthy and nutritious.   This process of rebuilding the soil takes several years, but the outcome is more robust crops, which deliver more nutrition to our CSA members. Indeed, this is how our farm functions as a real-world demonstration program.  Our gala auction will help to pay for this special work associated with our new CSA garden.

Other auction items include a VIP tour and gourmet lunch for a party of six at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company and also at Harvest Spirit Distillery; a garden planning consultation with Glynwood CSA Manager Dave Llewellyn; a mushrooming expedition and gourmet luncheon feast;  a guided fishing tour with picnic and wine; a beehive installation and training; a weekend at Glynwood’s historic Old Farmhouse, with a fully stocked gourmet kitchen; and the “Glynwood Hen House: In your own backyard raise your own chickens and harvest their eggs right in a one-of-a-kind Cage aux Fowles designed by noted architect and Glynwood board member Janet Olmsted Cross.”

Performing (on a haywagon) at the gala again this year will be the popular Philipstown band “Uncle Wade’ and the Motherlode trio.  McManus noted that last year these groups basically donated their services, and asked solely for “payment” in the form of a supply of the famed Glynwood chickens!  There will also be square dancing, with a caller from upstate.

Uncle Wade performing at last year's dance.

Auctioneer Rodney Dow will return, though he will not be seeking bids for one of the most popular items last year:  goats.  In last year’s “reverse auction” funds were raised for goats sought by Glynwood Director of Farm and Facilities, Ken Kleinpeter, to act as “lawn mowers” for an invasive species of roses threatening harvest lands.  This year, by special request from Kleinpeter, “no more goats, please,” as an abundance of baby goats were born over the year.

The Barn Dance will begin at 5:30 p.m. The evening costs $250 per person, and reservations (no children, please), can be made by calling 845.265.3338, no later than Friday, September 8.  Visit http://www.glynwood.org/ for more details on the dance and on Glynwood itself.
Photos by Yancey Hughes

One Response to "Bucolic, Sophisticated, Uptempo: Glynwood's Barn-Dance Gala"

  1. Stacy Labriola   September 6, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    My husband & I performed here last year but we also enjoyed the actual event tremendously. The food was superb, the venue was way cool… “cowboy chic” and everybody was very welcoming and appreciative of the music. I danced & danced! Great auction items too!