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'The Last Barn Dance:' Innovation At A North Carolina Dairy Farm

Filmmakers Ted Richardson and Jason Arthurs plan to release their new documentary "The Last Barn Dance" in the next month.
Credit Jason Arthurs and Ted Richardson
Filmmakers Ted Richardson and Jason Arthurs plan to release their new documentary "The Last Barn Dance" in the next month.


Randy Lewis' dairy farm has been a gathering place for the people of Eli Whitney, N.C., for more than 50 years.

His family's annual barn dances are living relics of simpler times in North Carolina's agricultural industry.

But the Great Recession forced farmers to find new ways to save those traditions. Many went out of business. Lewis and a handful of others stopped falling further into debt by bottling their own milk. But it remains to be seen whether cultural traditions like the barn dance will stay alive.

A forthcoming documentary, The Last Barn Dancechronicles Lewis' fight for the farm and the traditions that come with it.

The film premieres in North Carolina on May 31 at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. 

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with Lewis and filmmakers Jason Arthurs and Ted Richardson about what it takes to run a modern dairy farm.

Check out the trailer for the documentary film below.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
Phoebe Judge is an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured on a numerous national radio programs. She regularly conducts interviews and anchors WUNC's broadcast of Here & Now. Previously, Phoebe served as producer, reporter and guest host for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. Earlier in her career, Phoebe reported from the gulf coast of Mississippi. She covered the BP oil spill and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio. Phoebe's work has won multiple Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards. Phoebe was born and raised in Chicago and is graduate of Bennington College and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
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