How to Host a Modern-Day Amish Barn Raising

For hundreds of years, Amish barn raisings have brought communities together to build new or restore existing barns after a devastating event or destruction. While you may not need to construct a barn, the concept is still being practiced today. Here are 10 things to think about if you're planning to host a modern-day Amish barn raising.

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Consider the Project

While the Amish would come together to build a barn, your project can be smaller in scale. Consider a community project such as building a chicken coop or shed, starting a neighborhood garden, repairing fences or building a neighborhood play area. Follow these tips for building a storage shed.

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What Tools Do You Need?

Think about what tools and materials you will need for the project. What tools do you already have, what will you want others to bring? Are there tools or materials you must purchase for the project? Are there any materials people could donate? These 21 top tool storage tips, tricks and ideas will help you stay organized.

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Take Advantage of Skills

If your project includes electrical work, is there an electrician who can help? Perhaps you know someone skilled at pouring concrete or a skilled carpenter. Use skills from other experienced workers and volunteers to your advantage. We can walk you through roughing-in electrical wiring yourself.

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Pick a Day and Time

Talk to those who are planning on helping and find a time and day that works best for everyone. This way you’ll have more people working on the project and it will get done in a timely fashion.

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Plan Food and Beverages

Depending on your project, you may want to serve snacks or even a few meals. Think about how many people will be working and how long the project should take. Keeping workers fed and hydrated is key to a successful Amish barn raising. How about a barbecue? These 12 tips will help you plan the ultimate backyard barbecue.

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What About Kids?

If this is a neighborhood or community event, there’s a good chance kids will be around. Keep children entertained with organized games or specialized tasks. Older kids can oversee the younger ones. Get everyone involved! These 14 fun DIY projects can keep the kids occupied.

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Have a Project Manager

There should be one person in charge of the entire barn raising event. Depending on the scope of the project, there may be people in charge of different aspects, such as food and materials. Make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for.

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Have a Schedule

Write down the day’s schedule. What time should people arrive? How long should various tasks take? What time is lunch? Many people work best with a set schedule.

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Make New Friends

There’s a good chance there will be people working on your project who don’t know each other. Make introductions and be open to working with people you don’t know. You never know what you’ll learn!

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It’s a Wrap

When the project is completed, be sure to let everyone involved know how much their work is appreciated. Make sure everyone leaves with their tools and other things they made have brought along to share.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.