Relive the days of ‘The National Barn Dance’ Oct. 12 in DeKalb

Staff Report

DEKALB, Illinois — Discover the story of a changing America, told through one of early radio’s most popular and influential programs: The National Barn Dance.

The Hayloft Gang: The Story of The National Barn Dance” will be presented free at 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Joseph F. Glidden Homestead and Welcome Center, 921 S. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, Illinois.

From the Great Depression through the hardships of World War II, The National Barn Dance celebrated the folk traditions fading in an increasingly urbanized America, while defining an identity for a struggling generation.

Illinois Humanities Council Roads Scholar Stephen Parry will discuss how The National Barn Dance served as a touchstone from 1924 to 1960 for rural listeners or homesick transplants confronting the big city. Preceding Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry by nearly two decades, it made Chicago the capital of country music before World War II, launching the careers of matinee idols, national radio queens and cowboy sweethearts.

The homestead, blacksmith shop and welcome center are open from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 12. Admission is $4 for adults and free for children younger than 12 and Glidden Homestead members. The program is presented free of charge.

The Hayloft Gang: The Story of The National Barn Dance” is sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council and supported by a grant from the Mary E. Stevens Concert and Lecture Fund.

For more about the homestead or this program, call (815) 756-7904 or visit

Posted Oct. 8, 2014

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