Thee Red Barn... a history of sorts

History of THEE RED BARN

We are not sure when the barn was built. We believe it was first a chicken house. Then a center section was added on with an upstairs room. Two more sections were added on in the back and on the side. The side was a raised floor and makes a nice stage area. This section was used for the machinery to grade apples. Many young people in the 1950s got a job helping to pick apples.

The farm was purchased by Bowmont Dairy Farm from Leonard Thomas' estate. The deed had 32 signatures of all Mr. Thomas nieces and nephews. Leonard had gotten the farm from his father.

For several years, the barn was used for hay and machinery storage by Bowmont Dairy. In 2006, Joanna Bowman was looking for a place for a wedding reception. Her mother suggested the barn. As you can see in the picture it was in awful shape. We spent many hours repairing and cleaning up the barn. On August 5, 2006 we hosted 200 guests for a wedding reception. We had a catered meal and dancing. Joanna's aunts and uncles and cousins helped to decorate the poles, walls, tables and chairs.

After that event, we had to decide if we would return the barn to storage or use it for agritourism. We decided to try using it to entertain and educate the public and school children. In October of 2007, we had our first corn maze that was cut in the shape of a Jack-o-lantern. We had hay rides, the pumpkin bean bag toss, animals, and hay to crawl on that first year for a limited number of school groups of differing ages and we were open to the public two Saturdays. We offered hot dogs, chips, drinks and ice cream to eat on Saturdays. Also for sale was a wagon full of straw, pumpkins, and corn stalks.

The second year we were open four Saturdays and hosted mostly preschool groups on the weekdays. The corn maze was cut into a cat. We added a ribbon maze and a hay slide. We had the 4-H Dairy Club and church youth groups come.

The barn is also available to rent. We have had two wedding receptions, one birthday party, one wedding, a church Fall party, and a family reunion.

October 2009 we doubled the number of visitors from the year before on the four Saturdays we were open. We made 4x8 foot signs and put in Boones Mill on 220 and at Bethany Road and the Callaway Road had a small sign. GPS and google have the wrong directions because their roads are labeled wrong. We cut the maze into a spider and made a big spider out of a round hay bale and mamboo poles and plack plastic. We added a water race with hand pumps and rubber duckies and a straw maze for small children. We added balls to the hay climbing area. Also new was a trailer full of cotton seed where the children could hunt for treasures. We tried a popcorn machine and added popcorn to the menu. A Gift Shoppe featured local artists, Brenda McManaway, Jonathan and David Brumbaugh, Lenora and Catherine Lentz, Amanda Lentz, Penny McManaway, Karen and Allison Weaver, Samuel Bowman, Kendall Dodson, Susan Tyree and Sarah Ann Bowman. There were wooden spoons, pottery, jewelry, embroidered towels, knit wash cloths, flower wreaths, loom made rugs, original paintings and knit hats and much more. Besides many of our same preschools, we also had several home school groups this year. One Church had a Harvest Festival with us.

October 2010, we were open five Saturdays and they couldn't have been nicer weather wise. We were very fortunate.  We had a bat theme and questions in the maze educated us about bats.  A new  free event was a bat race.  We also had a barrel train with three cars for the children to ride through the sunflowers.  We had our own pumpkin patch that the Brumbaugh family grew for us.. This year we picked up groups from Franklin County Public school.  We even had to turn groups down because we got booked up.  We enlarged the Gift Shop to fill the whole stage area and added Ruth Santapolo as a new vendor.

October 2011 we will be open five Saturdays again. On October 29, if people wear a Halloween costume to THEE RED BARN, they will get a free drink. The corn maze will have a scarecrow theme. A new free event will be a scarecrow throw.  Pumpkins are planted and hopefully we will have many if the weather cooperates. There may be gourds, straw bales, corn stocks and scarecrows to buy. We will have the Gift Shoppe again and would welcome more contributors. If you are interested in bringing a school group or preschool group or home school group or adult education group, please contact us for a date.