~ Taste of America ~ Hayride pictures

Every year our church has a hayride, mostly for the International students! There is nothing quite so fun as seeing someone’s eyes as they taste S’Mores for the first time, or roast marshmallows on a stick or square dance when they have no idea what the caller is telling them to do.
Our annual hayride was Saturday night and we estimated about 150 people came. The weather cooperated and we only had a misting for just a short time. It was about 65 degrees so there was no need for coats this year. Our church is a student church that reaches out to the students at Southern Illinois University and our goal is to provide “a home away from home” for them. At one point in the evening we went through the alphabet and asked the different students to yell out their nations… I remembered a few of them…but I’m sure there were more.

A ~ Angola
B ~ Bangladesh or Barbados (I can’t remember)
C ~ China, Congo, Columbia
D ~
E ~ England
F ~
G ~ Ghana
H ~ Haiti, Honduras
I ~ India
J ~ Japan
K ~ Kenya
L ~
M ~ Malaysia
N ~ Nigeria
O ~
P ~ Poland
Q ~
R ~ Russia
S ~ Singapore, Saudia Arabia
T ~
U ~ United States
V ~
W ~
X ~
Y ~
Z ~ Zimbabwe

I took a few pictures of things before it got dark because I knew my pictures would be hard to see any details…

Some friends of ours let us have the hayride at their house and welcomes everyone so graciously! Here is the front of their house, decorated with triangle banners strung up and hay bales and lots of pumpkins…

Here are some of the chairs set up for lots of engaging conversations!!!

Some food tents…

We borrowed a big copper kettle and put apple cider and tons of cut up apples in it. It had to cook a really long time for the apples to get soft; then we served it with vanilla ice cream… can I hear a “DELISH?”

There was a photo booth set up so people could take pictures…

Here are a couple of helpers “just checking it out to see if it worked!” It did! Thanks Ariel and Fabi!

Just as you went in the barn, we set up this display welcoming everyone…

There was lots of visiting and eating…

We had a “Best Dressed Cowgirl and Cowboy” contest…The young girl 3rd from the left won! Way to go, Megan!

One thing they were judged on was their “Cowboy stance!”

What would a hayride be without a huge bonfire? I mean a HUGE bonfire. They had a little trouble getting it to “explode” so after 15 or 20 attempts of shooting a fire thingy into the gasoline soaked pile of branches, they finally poured the gasoline from the heap and made a trail along the ground… then they lit it at a safe distance and we all watched it burn on the ground till it reached the pile… then BOOM!!! You know it’s coming but you still jump when it bursts into flames…

The square dancing is a big favorite among the International students. Many of them have no idea what is going on but they still give it a try anyway. It is really fun to watch them… I only took still shots, but you’ll have to imagine the music and the hand clapping and boots stomping and all the laughter. It was fun to watch, but I didn’t join in… I’m the photographer… *smile*

Oh, I can’t forget to show the hay wagon… It was pretty dark and even with my flash on, my camera could just barely capture the fun on those bales…

Okay, Okay… Alba took a picture of me and George in the photo booth… (Susette did a little photo editing and sent me a better picture than the washed out one I posted originally. Thanks Susette!)

It was a really fun evening and I hope you enjoyed “being there too!”

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Yes, I DID have fun, Jeanne! I loved the pictures, and it was a real” Midwestern” kind of a party in the fall! I certainly wish I was there! I could just imagine the wonderful smell of the crackling fire, the apple cider, the wonderful food! Gosh, that bonfire was really something! And square dancing! I took square dancing lessons when I was in jr. high, and loved it! We danced outside my teachers home, where she and her hubby, who were square dancers themselves, had a huge concrete “dance floor”. In the cold weather, we danced in our church basement. It was so much fun!

    All the leaves on the ground remind me of what our yard looks like today, after all the wind and rain from yesterday. In a way, it looks so pretty, and fall-like, but we have to get this first batch gone before more comes and we are overwhelmed with leaves! But it almost looks like a pretty carpet.

    The happy couple at the end is the cherry on the top! You two don’t look a day over 35!

    • Awwww, Linda,
      You are too kind with your compliments… :o)
      The whole evening was pretty perfect….from the gunnie sax races to the singing with the guitar!
      We have tons of leaves that have fallen too…it’s pretty soggy now with the rain we’ve gotten today!
      Thank you so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Mary Colgan says:

    What fun! I kept looking for the ‘band’ playing for the dancing… I *love* to play my hammered dulcimer and watch people dancing to the music…. I’d love to have time to join a group that plays, regularly, for dances… I just can’t commit myself to that, just yet….I’m needed at home (elder care) too much.

    • Hi Mary,
      Well, if you had been at the hayride, we would have let you play your hammered dulcimer! It’s one of my very favorite instruments!
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Linda, you hit it on the head with every thing you said! The hayride get-together looks like so much fun and such a perfect autumn event. Hayrides, bonfires, visiting, yummy food and square dancing are always so entertaining. What a successful gathering your church group put on.
    I too agree with Linda in that the cherry on top is indeed the last picture of two very special people.

    • Thank you Paula,
      The evening was all the things you mentioned and more! We really did have a good time. I’m glad it only comes once a year though.
      Thank you for being so kind!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. All of the pictures are wonderful, and you saved the best for last! Love the picture of you and George. I can see it framed and in the blue breakfront in the living room and as part of the centerpiece on a Thanksgiving table. What a hayride with all the trimmings! You all sure did the best hayride party ever. What memories for the students!

    We had a hayride sponsored by the Youth Center at Burtonwood RAF Station in England where we lived in connected Quonset huts in the late 50s. The “wagon” was a huge, blue, slat-sided military truck pulled by a cab, no horses. We did see horses, though, on the way to school with the gypsy wagons just outside the base gate at certain times of the year. Oh, the memories your blog bring back.

    • Hi Susette,
      Thank you for the new picture of me and George. It is much more colorful looking.
      We do hope the memories of these hayrides stay with the students forever….they enjoy things like this so much.
      I love it when a post I write brings back memories to you!
      Thanks Susette,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. What a great time the guests had at the party the other night. Wow, it was so fun “being there” with you. Thanks for sharing the fun with us. I agree that the students must take many memories back with them after such a fun-filled, Midwestern, American night. It was such a blessing to read of and see the photos of the enjoyable time.

    And, I’m in total agreement with all of the above/…we were honored to see two very special people’s photo at the end. It was a glorious time.


    • Thank you Becky,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed you self “at” the hayride…you were the one in the blue and green plaid flannel shirt, weren’t you? *smile*
      So glad you could make it!!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Love the pic of you two. Amazed at seeing the bonfire, no way are they allowed out here. I’m sure you know why. Sounds like everyone enjoyed the show. Pass the s’mores please.
    Happy Monday

    • Hi Joy,
      I hope the fire didn’t bring up too many scary memories for you… I’m sure no bonfires were allowed…and I can see why.
      If I could I’d send you a s’more!!!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Woweey Zow – now that’s a party!! Looks like sooo much fun and so happy the weather cooperated for you. Like others have said what a wonderful memory for everyone.
    That bonfire looks amazing and a crowded dance floor is always a good sign of a fantastic party.
    Love the pic of you and George – you two are so generous reaching out and making a difference.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Leigh,
      I think everyone who came had a really good time. The pictures pretty much back that up, I think…
      Thanks for the compliments on this old couple….we’ll take all the compliments we can get. :o)
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Sounds like a super fun time. Love the house decorations, very festive. The apples and ice cream looks delicious and I’m sure tasted wonderful.
    What a square dance you must have had. Our homeschool group had a “Pioneer Party” as the end of the year thing one year. We dressed up in pioneer outfits and had a square dance as well. We got a brief lesson on the calls, but only a few people did it well, the rest improvised.
    You and George look so happy. What a sweet picture. A couple from our church is about to celebrate their 73rd anniversary, what a milestone!!

    • Hi Laura,
      It was a really fun night…for the students AND us! Your Pioneer Party sounds like it was a lot of fun too.
      The students got instruct I ns on the calls too, but do many of th hem didn’t have a clue what he meant so they just copied what every one else was doing.
      Wow 73 years. …I’m hoping for that long too!!!!
      Congrats to that couple!
      Thank you Laura,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us Jeanne. Nothing like good food and fellowship to make everyone feel welcome! I’m sure it was lots of fun. Great picture of you and George!

    • Thanks Carolyn,
      Yes, with good food and fellowship, you can’t help but have a good time!
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. I love the way you took us through your day, from empty chairs to full ones, from daylight and evening to the big bonfire, from apples cooking to apples ready to eat, from everyone else to the two of you, looking exactly right for the party. I am so glad your weather was good. Everything you could control stayed under control. What a wonderful day, with a great photo to finish it.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      I was happy to have everyone come to the hayride with me! I hope you had fun like we did.
      George got everything taken back, put away, and the hayride will be waiting for us next year.
      My day was filled up but I am in my sewing room now…Yay!!!
      Thanks Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

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