Saturday, November 18, 2023

Barn Dance at Appleton Farms

Carriage Barn

About Barn Dance at Appleton Farms

Appleton Farms is recreating the days where the community gathered at the heart of the farm for an evening of music, fun and most importantly… dancing! Take time before the business of the holidays at this classic barn dance to gather with other friends from our Appleton community for an informal night of live music, contra, and circle dances, and getting your groove on however you like in our historic Carriage Barn. Learn dancing basics (all dances will be taught as needed) or show off your expert skills; this evening will cater to all. Live music from the Contra Banditos accompanied by legendary dance caller, Dudley Laufman.

Beer, punch, refreshments, and light snacks will be available for purchase. You are welcome to bring your own picnic-style food as well.

Dress in typical contemporary New England contra attire or, if you be so inclined, dress up for the occasion – we will be hosting a “Best Barn Dance Dressed” competition! The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to our Farm Store, so dig out your straw hats, gingham, and fancy boots for a chance to win.

Are you a musician? The Contra Banditos open door policy allows you to sit in with the band! Be at the heart of the show, and play to your own comfort level.

About Dudley Laufman:

Dudley is widely credited with helping spur the revival of contra in the 20th century. He began calling and playing for dances, which became known as “Dudley Dances”. At times, he was the only remaining callers of contra dances with live music. He worked to spread the tradition, which ultimately caught on and has since spread across the United States and internationally.

Laufman is a recipient of a 2009 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

About The Contra Banditos

The Contra Banditos were formed in the late 1980s when original band member Dan Fassett and two of his students decided to practice their craft at a contra dance in the First Parish Church in Groton, MA. Those practice sessions continue to be a catalyst for the evolution of the band .

From a handful of fiddle members, we have grown into a band with typically eight members who play fiddle, banjo, guitar, piano, mandolin, whistle, bass and percussion. They play a mix of folk/ Americana and popular tunes.

An integral part of who they are is their “open door” policy. Thus they welcome all who wish to join them, regardless of skill. This centers us in a community building model rooted in the New England contra dance tradition, pub sessions in Ireland, and house parties in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.

Their band exists as a way to make music and have fun for their own enjoyment and that of others, and to learn and grow as musicians.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

  • Program Refunds/Cancellations: In the event that a program is cancelled due to severe weather, low enrollment, or other circumstances, we will notify you as soon as possible by email and issue you a full refund within 14 days of the cancellation. If you cannot attend a program as planned, contact at least 7 days prior to the start of the program to receive a full refund or transfer to another date/class. Refunds and/or class transfers will not be granted for registration cancellations placed fewer than 7 days before the start of the program. There are no refunds for missed classes. Appleton Farms reserves the right to change program locations, schedules, or instructors when necessary. 
  • Where to park: When you arrive at the farm, go right at the fork at the Welcome House (towards Farmhouse, Carriage Barn & Offices) and park in the lot next to the white Farmhouse / Farm Offices. Overflow parking is located along the drive leading up to the farmhouse between the trees before you cross the 4-way bridge intersection. Please be mindful of roped off areas and no-parking signs.  The event will take place at the grey Carriage barn across the stone paddock.
  • Membership Lookup: Click here to find your membership number.
  • Need to see an existing order? Click here to see your current orders.
  • The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of its properties implies consent. See the full policy at
  • Buy out a class/private events: Have a group that wants to take a class or program together? We have options to buy out our classes and/or create private events. Email for more information. 
  • While you’re here: Don’t forget to stop by our seasonal wood-fired pizza oven open weekends Spring- Fall and visit the Farm Store Tuesday- Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.
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