Barns make some great spaces for parties (provided the horses are safe).

On Saturday, September 22nd, I attended the Second Annual LiveAART Horseshoe Hoedown at River Farm Stables.  A charity event to support AART (All Ages Read Together) an organized founded by Karen Schaufeld and who hosted the event at her River Farm Stables, a facility designed by Blackburn Architects.

All Ages Read Together, a Loudoun County Virginia based non-profit organization is dedicated to serving low and moderate income pre-school aged children.  Please visit their website ( to learn more about AART.  All proceeds from the “Hoedown” will help AART deliver reading and school readiness programs to disadvantaged children in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

It was an evening of filled with some good ol’ down on the farm country fun.  Below are a few images taken during the festivities.  It was a perfect evening for the event that took place outdoors in the courtyard space between the barn and the indoor riding arena. (Last year it took place in the barn due to inclement weather but it too was fun and a wonderful space to party.) Last evening’s event began with a series of light hearted games organized in a tournament with prizes for the top two finishers in each event and some great bluegrass music by The Gold Heart Sisters. At sundown, some great bar-be-que was served in the arena observation area followed by square dancing with a professional square dancing caller in the courtyard under the stars. An auction and raffle with some great items was also part of the night.  Blackburn Architects was one of the sponsors of the event and provided one of the auction items.

It was a great party in support of a very worthy cause.  I am sure most of you barn or farm owners have charities you support or would like to support.  We recommend more of you who own barns and arenas consider sponsoring charity events at your barns or indoor riding arenas.  It’s a great way to support your favorite charity and to shown off your barn. Just be sure you isolate your horses for their protection (turn them out to pasture during the event is a good way to do that) and make sure fire hazards are eliminated (remove bales of hay, provide plenty of fire extinguishers and do not allow any smoking in the barn.)  Another common sense protection is to not serve anything in glass containers. With a few simple precautions like these, you can do a lot to promote a local charity, enjoy your barn, make new friends and have some fun in the process.

My thanks and congratulations to the Schaufeld family for hosting this successful event.

Epilogue:  Blackburn Architects has designed and constructed over a hundred farms during its 30 years in practice and we would encourage many if not all our clients to consider a similar function if possible and it can be made safe.   Sponsoring a charity event, as they say in the milk slogan, “It does a body good”.