Honky tonk haven Arthur's Barn reopening after long COVID layoff

The live music venue’s welcome back hootenanny starts at 9 p.m. Friday, April 16.

DeLon Cahoon stands Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in what was then the newly rebuilt Arthur’s Barn north of Arthur, N.D. The barn closed in March 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and will reopen Friday, April 16, 2021. File Photo by Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

ARTHUR, N.D. - Polish up those boots, Arthur’s Barn is getting ready to open again.

The popular dance spot - closed for more than a year due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns - is hosting a welcome back hootenanny at 9 p.m. Friday, April 16, with the band Silverado.

DeLon Cahoon, who owns the barn with his wife, Julie, said he’s gotten a lot of calls from people who miss doing a boot-scootin’ boogie at 1907 155th Ave. S.E.

Cahoon decided to hold a couple of dances this spring to close out the traditional toe-tapping season, rather than wait until the fall.

“It’s going to be good. We’ve been a long time since we’ve been open,” Cahoon said Monday, April 12. The last dance had been held in early March of 2020, before the pandemic shut down social events big and small.


During the long COVID lockdown, Cahoon added a balcony to the west end of the big barn, so dancers “can look down over the dance floor” when they take a break.


Plus, a shiny, new wood dance floor has been laid since the start of the year.

A balcony and a wooden floor were installed at Arthur's Barn over the many months of pandemic lockdown. The popular country music venue will reopen with a dance Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Arthur's Barn/Special to The Forum)

“It’s just a lot easier on your legs, especially if you’re older. It's better than cement.” Cahoon said.

There are hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility, and masks will be available for anyone that wants to wear them, though attendees won't be required to wear masks.

It was in mid-March when the venue first posted on its Facebook page that it planned to reopen the house of honky tonk April 16.

“We’ve waited long enough,” the post said.


An Easter Sunday Facebook message confirmed the decision, while another post showed off the polished oak dance floor.

“We might need to dance all night to break in this new floor!” the Facebook post said.

The last few years have featured some heartbreak, determination and frustration for the Cahoons.

It was a few days before Halloween 2017 when the original barn burned down. The line-dancing emporium was a landmark for the region’s country music fans, and the Cahoons decided to rebuild.

A new red, metal barn, 120 feet long by 38 feet wide, was erected and the venue reopened in mid-September 2019.

The Cahoon’s bought the farmstead from Brian and Becky Johnson in 2015.

The original barn, known as Johnson’s Barn, had been the site of barn dances since the early 1950s, Cahoon said.

Dancers come from throughout the region, coming from Dickinson and Williston in western North Dakota, and east to Alexandria and St. Cloud in Minnesota. Some bands, like Jacked Up, have drawn fans all the way from Wisconsin, Cahoon said.


The facility can also accommodate weddings and other events, too.

Cahoon said it’s important to get people back on the dance floor.

“We’ve lost a lot of our crowd. It's been almost three years now. A lot of those who were coming there are grown up and gone. It’s kind of important to get some of the new crowd back before fall,” Cahoon said.

Friday’s dance runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. There is a $10 charge per person at the door.

The band Jacked Up is scheduled to appear April 30.

A photo posted in mid-February on the Facebook page for Arthur's Barn shows the progress on installing a wood dance floor. "A lot of things have been happening (Delon and team never quit). Off to a great start on the dance floor! #getreadytodance #barndancecomingsoon" the post said. (Photo Courtesy of Arthur's Barn/ Special to The Forum)

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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