to conduct a campaign or speaking tour in rural areas by making brief stops in many small towns.
Theater. to tour small towns to stage theatrical performances.
(of a pilot) to give exhibitions of stunt flying, participate in airplane races, etc., in the course of touring country towns and rural areas.
(of a professional athletic team) to tour an area playing exhibition games after the regular season.
to tour (various places) as a barnstormer.
Contemporary Examples

Back then, when partners of stars melted into the background, it was a barnstorming stealing of the show.
Happy 20th Birthday, Liz Hurley’s Safety-Pin Dress Tim Teeman December 11, 2014

Not long after that, during a barnstorming tour of the country, he suffers the fate of all martyrs.
American Dreams: How Bush Shaped Our Reading of Roth’s ‘The Plot Against America’ Nathaniel Rich November 22, 2014

After such a barnstorming stage debut, and while “my heart is in theater,” screen acting intrigues him.
The Brit Who Stormed Broadway Tim Teeman December 6, 2014

The president is barnstorming factories in swing states, banking on a return of jobs in time for the election.
Obama Bets 2012 on Factory Jobs Eleanor Clift June 30, 2011

As the barnstorming tour moves across America, Walker also seems to become increasingly fixated on Cuba.
The Man Oswald First Tried to Kill Before JFK Bill Minutaglio, Steven L. Davis October 2, 2013

His high-profile barnstorming on behalf of John McCain in 2008 finished the job.
Did Joe Lieberman Screw Independents? David A. Graham January 19, 2011

He spent the last two years barnstorming around the country on behalf of Mitt Romney.
In New Jersey, Barbara Buono Is the Last Democrat Standing David Freedlander February 18, 2013

Historical Examples

I had heard of but had never known what “barnstorming” meant before.
Nat Goodwin’s Book Nat C. Goodwin

Usually though, it only ends in talk, and the teams make a barnstorming trip to San Francisco or to Cuba.
Baseball Joe Around the World Lester Chadwick

verb (intransitive)
to tour rural districts putting on shows, esp theatrical, athletic, or acrobatic shows
(mainly US & Canadian) to tour rural districts making speeches in a political campaign

1815, in reference to a theatrical troupe’s performances in upstate New York barns (usually featuring short action pieces to suit vulgar tastes); extended 1896 to electioneering, 1928 to itinerant airplane pilots who performed stunts at fairs and races. Related: Barnstormed; barnstorming.


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