A Montreat Summer Tradition

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Written by: Cordelia Addington
Guest Writer

With summer over, you might be missing one of the most integral parts of a Montreat summer: barn dances.

In 1969, Glenn Bannerman spent his first summer as director of recreation  here at Montreat Conference Center. With him, he brought his love for recreation and intergenerational fun. It’s because of Glenn that the Fourth of July parade became an official affair, a tradition that still stands strong today. It’s also because of Glenn that we have another Montreat summertime tradition: Friday Night at the Barn.

If you’ve never attended a Friday Night at the Barn, you’re missing out! Every Friday during the summer months the Barn is filled with live music, people of all ages, and a roaring good time. Big Circle Square Dances are called, in traditional mountain style, by Glenn and live music is provided by the Stoney Creek Boys. Big Circle Square Dancing is a type of folk dance that encourages interaction between dancers, a variety of figures, and lots of laughs. At Montreat barn dances, between big circle dances, the band takes a break and Glenn puts on a variety of novelty dances. These are dances set to fun music, easy to pick up, and a favorite for all ages.   

Glenn calling a barn dance in summer 2019.

Nowadays, Glenn’s two daughters, Beth and Lee Ann take turns calling the barn dances with their dad, who still kicks off most Friday nights. It’s a skill that was passed down through their family, and it seems that a love for intergenerational recreation runs through the Bannerman blood.

If you’re looking for a way to get your barn dance fill outside of the summer months, check out the Bannerman family’s camp over Thanksgiving weekend. Learn more about the Bannerman Folk camp at bannermanfolkcamp.com.