By Diane Urbani de la Paz
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DUNGENESS — “That’s a skunk, isn’t it?” is what people ask when they hear the name Polecat.
Nope, the lead guitar man said, a polecat is “basically a ferret.”
That’s just one of the points Jeremy Elliott made when speaking about Polecat, which is also the band coming to town for the annual Harvest Celebration Barn Dance this Saturday night.
Polecat’s five players will put out a whole lot of Americana and “stompgrass,” Elliott promised, from 8 p.m. till 11 p.m. at the Nash’s packing shed, 1865 E. Anderson Road.
Barn dance participants also are invited to fuel up at the 6 p.m. community potluck, which will have yet another band, Cort and Kia Armstrong and friends, providing old-time country blues as the dinner music.
Admission for the whole night of food and entertainment is $10, or free for those 16 and younger.
Those who join the potluck are encouraged to bring a dish to share, and “we’re hoping families come out for that,” said Kia Armstrong, manager of Nash’s.
Armstrong discovered Polecat at this past May’s Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts in Port Angeles and decided they were the ideal barn-dance band.
The group, based in Bellingham, is an all-originals outfit with Elliott and fiddler Cayley Schmid supplying a Celtic sound, Richard Reeves playing the double bass, Karl Olson drumming and Aaron Guest on vocals and 12-string guitar.
Polecat will probably do 150 shows this year, and “we’re still exploring all different kinds of music,” said Elliott, “and seeing how far out do we want to go.”
Feel the energy
He didn’t quite know how long Polecat was expected to play Saturday night. But “if the crowd is interacting with you, you can really feed off that energy . . . if people want to keep going,” till 11 p.m., “we can do that.”
Armstrong, organizer of the annual barn dance for some years now, said the event used to start at 7:30 p.m., but then the band would start packing up around 10 p.m. That was too early for the dancing crowd, so this year she’s having Polecat start and stay later.
When asked how many people Nash’s packing shed can hold, Armstrong laughed.
“That’s a great question. One year we had about 300, and that was pretty packed,” she said.
Armstrong encourages people who have never been to Nash’s to come out for Saturday’s potluck and dance.
“There are people from all walks of life,” she said. “It’s all smiles, all night long. And if you’re not the dancing type, you can hang out by the fire pit and meet some new friends.
“There have been a lot of romances” kindled around that fire, Armstrong added. She met Cort at the fall barn dance six years ago; they’ve been married four years now.
For more information about Saturday’s festivities, phone Nash’s at 360-681-6274.