Dartmouth turns out to support DNRT at annual Barn Bash

Aug 25, 2019

What happens when a land trust holds a hootenanny in a barn?

Cowboy hats, boots, and a lot of flannel ⁠— plus music, drinks, dancing, and plenty of food samples from the best restaurants the neighborhood has to offer.

More than 275 people came out for Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust’s 14th annual Barn Bash on Saturday night at the Sylvan Nursery barn on Horseneck Road.

The evening featured live bluegrass music from Middleborough band Four Bridges, a silent auction with nearly 80 items, and ten different local food and drink vendors in a barn decorated with hay bales and flowering plants under rafters strung with lights.

A wide variety of goods and services was included in the silent auction, with local artwork, kitchenware, gift baskets of wine, cookies, and flower arrangements, a John Deere kid’s tractor as well as experiences like a sunset kayak tour and VIP tickets to a Bruins game.

“It’s lovely. It’s a great evening,” said Padanaram resident Jan Bichsel. “I’ve already bid on two things. I bid on a two-night stay in the Berkshires...And then a wine package. And I will come back and see how they’re doing.”

“I go to a lot of these fundraisers, and this one is always the best silent auction,” said another guest conspiratorially in passing. 

Dartmouth resident Ross Kellar brought his friend Andrew Fotta from Duxbury to the bash.

“It’s awesome,” said Kellar. “Last year we ended up winning the bid for a house in Keystone, Colorado. So we actually just got back from there three weeks ago. It was a fun little trip.”

For his part, Fotta said he had his eye on an alternator. 

He added that he visits Kellar in Dartmouth every so often. “I like the scenery here,” he said.

Marilyn Packard said that she comes to the bash for a different reason. “We love visiting with a lot of friends, so it’s an opportunity to do that,” she said. “We’re actually from Westport, but we come and walk on a lot of the trails. So we try to support [DNRT] by coming here.”

“They are great,” added her husband, Jeff Bull, about the non-profit. “I’ve known a lot of the local land trusts in my life...They’re among the best.”

Guests stood in line for tasters of food from local vendors like Westport’s Bayside, which was handing out maple glazed scallops and corn bread ⁠— a crowd favorite ⁠— as well as marinated heirloom tomatoes with whipped ricotta and lavash from Dartmouth farm Sid Wainer & Son.

Not Your Average Joe’s of Dartmouth ran out of their popular tuna wontons, while Elle Bee’s catering from Warren, Rhode Island handed out Thai spiced watermelon soup shooters with flaked crab.

Those looking for sweets got ice cream from the Oxford Creamery’s food truck just outside the barn doors, or from Dartmouth’s Wild Honey cafe, which handed out coffee and homemade cookies.

“It’s all open seating,” explained DNRT Development and Outreach Specialist Kendra Murray. “We used to do a sit-down dinner, but people seem to really like the tapas, and the freedom to just walk around. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here.”

“All of the food is really delicious,” said Sophie Marshall of Dartmouth, who said she loved the marinated tomatoes and the scallops. “There’s a lot of variety, which is great.”

Meanwhile Four Bridges kept everyone’s feet tapping with their traditional and contemporary bluegrass, as guests chatted, bought drinks, bid on items, and lined up for more food tasters.

Bichsel said that she supports DNRT because she loves walking the trails with her grandchildren, who each have a favorite property. 

“We absolutely go to every possible site,” Bichsel said. “We’re very lucky that the DNRT has given us such an incredible abundance of choices for being in nature. It’s wonderful.”