Looking for a toe-tapping, knee-slapping, family-friendly way to spend a Northern Michigan family night out? Head to Pond Hill Farm, north of Harbor Springs, on Friday, October 1, 2010, for their monthly barn dance. MyNorth grabbed Marci Spencer as a partner to get the scoop on square dancing, Pond Hill style.

MyNorth: Close your eyes and picture yourself in the middle of one of Pond Hill’s Barn Dances.  What’s it like?

Marci: A Pond Hill Farm Barn Dance is one of those unique opportunities where you can see people of all ages interacting together. My favorite thing is watching people of all ages learning to square dance. It’s so nice to see even teenagers dancing along side there parents and actually enjoying it!

MyNorth: Seriously? Even teenagers?

Marci: Yes! It’s really fun because the callers tell you what to do so you can still participate even if you’ve never tried square dancing. Plus, you can also have a great homemade dinner, roast marshmallows over the campfire, visit with the animals, sit and enjoy the wonderful music, swing on the tire swing, or climb to the top of the vineyard to watch the sunset. It’s an all around great time for the whole family.

MyNorth: Is the music live?

Marci: Yup.  The music is provided by the Peacemeal String Band, and the band members live just up the road. They are fantastic.

MyNorth: When you put on your first barn dance this spring, did you know it was going to catch on and become a monthly community event?

Marci: We actually weren’t quite sure how people would react to a barn dance. It was really neat to see how excited the community was to have such a different type of event to enjoy as families. And the dances are becoming more and more popular. We are looking forward to the one on October 1st. We want to deck out the Barn with pumpkins and corn stalks and give it a real fall feel. It’s actually the kick off to our Fall Festival weekend.
MyNorth: So great music, dancing, and food to boot?

Marci: Pond Hill’s chef, Scott Schornak, always creates a delicious buffet dinner. In the past he’s done sloppy joe’s with potato salad, corn on the cob, and a fresh spring mix salad with homemade ranch dressing. He also did an amazing pulled pork for one of the dances. He’s just great at coming up with food that fits into the Hoe Down feel of the whole night.

MyNorth: Best part of dancing in the barn?

Marci: I would say the best part of dancing in the barn is how magical it feels in the evening. It’s so nice to walk outside after dancing for a while and just hang out around the campfire under the stars. Then when you look back into the barn from outside and see the lights and the people dancing….it’s all so charming.

MyNorth: Have you learned any new moves? And do you need a square dance outfit to attend (or, as an equal and opposite question, can you get hoe-downed out for fun and not feel ridiculous)?

Marci: I am definitely still a beginner, but I can actually understand what the caller means when she says things like doe see doe now. I have to say the most fun thing for me is to watch our daughter Emma learning to square dance. It’s amazing how even a two-year-old can follow along. Maybe someday she will become our caller. She should become an old pro after a few years of this!  As for clothes, Western attire is recommended, but not required. Most people do dress up and really get into it. You will fit in no matter what you wear.

The Details: Admittance to the Barn Dance is $15 per person and includes food for the evening. Kids five and under are free. Reservations are requested, but not required. Pondhill.com (231) 526-3276

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