Hawkins County’s Sayrah Barn went from ‘expensive joke’ to popular event venue

ROGERSVILLE — What started as a joke became a rustic wedding venue, and it has quickly evolved into one of Hawkins County’s most popular event venues.

This past Saturday, the Sayrah Barn, located at 4144 Highway 11-W on the far eastern outskirts of Rogersville, hosted a car and bluegrass show with barbecue that attracted more than 130 classic vehicles and raised $5,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

This coming Saturday, The Barn is hosting a horse show fundraiser for the Hawkins County Humane Society in the afternoon and an advance ticket purchase Masquerade Ball for adults in the evening. On Halloween night, The Barn is hosting a free trunk-or-treat event for the community.

This past summer, shortly after construction of The Barn was completed, it hosted a car show and music event that raised $15,000 for a local couple whose infant son is battling cancer.

Sayrah Barn owner/operator Megan Lawson told the Times News on Monday she believes word is spreading slowly but surely about Sayrah Barn, and there were a lot more spectators at Saturday’s event than at the summer fundraiser.

“Everybody who was there seemed to be having a pretty good time,” Lawson said. “Of course I was working and trying to be everywhere at one time, but some friends of mine who were in the car show said everybody just loved it. It was a good environment, and it was spread out so you could social distance and feel safe.”

There aren’t any public events scheduled at Sayrah Barn beyond Halloween, although Lawson said she’d like to do something for Christmas.

How did Sayrah Barn come to be?

Lawson’s parents live on the five acres adjacent to the eight-acre barn property. At one point, the eight acres came up for sale and was contracted to a person who intended on developing storage units there.

That was disappointing news for her parents, who have built their retirement home on that location.

Meanwhile, Lawson, a wedding photographer and occasional wedding planner, attended a wedding two years ago that she felt could have been better organized.

It was 90 minutes late, it was too hot, and she said everybody was miserable.

“I’ve coordinated several weddings,” Lawson said. “It was always something that I loved to do, but it was more of just people that I knew.”

That night she was telling her dad about the subpar wedding she’d attended and joked that they should build a wedding venue on the property next door.

“It was a joke,” Lawson said. “A very expensive joke.”

But dad was serious, and the stars seemed to align perfectly to make it happen

The eight-acre lot came up for sale again, and Lawson’s parents sold a business and needed to invest the proceeds. So Lawson and her husband partnered with her parents to build the Sayrah Barn wedding and event venue.

The story behind naming The Barn

Lawson’s grandmother is named Sarah, and she named her second daughter Sayrah. They kicked around ideas for what to name the barn, but they kept coming back to Sayrah.

“It sounds sophisticated,” Lawson said. “We looked at all kinds of names. I said, I can’t name it something common. I want to name it something different, something that has meaning. Sayrah just kind of stuck.”

The 7,000-square-foot barn is available for weddings, and there’s a bridal suite on the second level if the happy couple wants to spend their first night together there.

They can fit 500 people standing or 300 people seated inside the barn and 150 on the porch.

On the ground level with the ballroom there’s also a “warmer” kitchen to accommodate caterers, as well as a full commercial kitchen. They have their own in-house chef.

To learn more about the Sayrah Barn, you can call Lawson at (423) 754-8399 or visit the Sayrah Barn Facebook page.