An long-standing tradition in the Kansas Flint Hills is the holding of dances inside barns scattered across the rural Kansas prairie. The barns offered an ideal setting when the large hay lofts were empty, providing a large, unobstructed wooden floor.
In some cases, such as the Thierer’s barn, located at Volland, Kansas, barns hosted regular dances each weekend.
In some cases, barn dances are single events meant to harken a specific event. Many wedding dances have been held in Flint Hills barns. But no barn in the history of Wabaunsee County has seen such an elaborate event as the barn dance held at the Wiser barn in south Wilmington Township to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed barn.
When the massive Wiser barn was nearing completion in 1884, Harlow Wiser, who managed the Kansas stock ranch, sent formal invitations to a gala event, celebrating the new barn’s construction. The invitation called for dinner to be served in the barn at 1:00 pm and field sports would begin at 2:00 pm. At 5:00 pm a barbecue would be served, followed by dancing in the barn at 8:00 pm. Music was provided by Hick’s Orchestra.
The event at the Wiser barn was well-attend and reported in the press with first-hand accounts of considerable celebration and gaiety.
Today, barn dances are still being held at Volland at the Fix barn, located a mile east of The Volland Store.