Maggie Keith graduated from Appalachian State University in 2007 with a degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship before returning home to live and work at Foxhollow Farm, the 1300-acre farm her mother and her mother’s siblings had inherited the year prior. Though Maggie’s intent was to start the “business side” of the bio-dynamic farm, it didn’t take long for her get her hands dirty. Now Maggie is a co-owner with her mother, as well as the Gardener.
“I planned on hiring someone to market and sell the beef that we were raising” she said. “But I loved the farm and working with the land so much that I ended up staying and doing the job myself.”
Maggie shares the love each year by planning the annual Foxhollow Farm Fall Festival, which will be held Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. at Foxhollow Farm in Crestwood, Kentucky. Though Maggie has been planning for this weekend’s event since April, the inaugural festival in 2008 was a little more impromptu.
“Three weeks before the festival I told my mom ‘hey, why don't we have a fall festival?’ I had just heard the West End Girls and Boys Choir sing at an event and decided I had to have them out to Foxhollow to sing. So, I built a festival around it and half the proceeds went to that choir,” she said.
The following year, Maggie was inspired to partner with Maryhurst, a residential treatment facility for children with severe emotional disabilities, after an art show she attended where Maryhurst residents led guided tours of their home while sharing their experiences. Maggie invited the residents to the farm for a tour, and to plant pumpkins in preparation for the fall season.
“I had such a blast watching these girls play in the dirt and scream at the site of any bug or bee. We went on a hayride, and at first the girls were a bit shy but by the end they were laughing about cow pies and telling me they wanted to see more,” said Maggie. “That's when I decided I wanted half the proceeds of every festival to go towards a non-profit group and the other half to go towards bringing groups like Maryhurst out to the farm to connect with nature and experience hands-on farm learning.”
Foxhollow Farm has continued to partner with Maryhurst at each festival, and the organization gives back by recruiting volunteers to work the event. Maggie’s husband, Benton Keith, helps by organizing sponsors. Maggie also credits Foxhollow Farm team member Hannah Neumann, who has been involved with planning.
“The Fall Festival is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ day for the Foxhollow Farm Family. I could not do it without my family's support,” said Maggie.
Tomorrow’s festival will feature farm fresh (and kid-friendly) food by Foxhollow Farm Store, RYE, Wiltshire, Grind food truck, Gilberto Gelato and Cellar Door Chocolates. Hay castles, face painting, old-fashioned carnival games, pumpkins, hayrides, and pony rides will also be on site. The live music lineup, organized by Joan Shelley, includes Jim McGee, The Village Ordinary, Scott Moore, Trappers Keepers old-time string band, Square Dance with caller T-Claw.
“The Fall Festival has gone from a last minute idea with 150 people attending to a fully organized and planned festival with over 80 volunteers, $12,000 in sponsorship, and 5,000 visitors,” said Maggie, who would like to thank PNC Bank, Norton Healthcare, and Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP for their sponsorship.
Maggie hopes to raise $20,000 at this year’s event, though her main goal is for everyone to have fun.
“I think the fact that the festival has stayed farm-focused with crafty games, delicious food, and a great cause is what keeps people coming.”