The Parklands of Floyds Fork’s ninth annual fundraiser promises an evening under the stars in true Kentucky style
By Emily Renco
Photos by Bob Hower and ted wathen
In 2020, The Parklands of Floyds Fork had a record-breaking year and saw more than 3.8 million visits. Park-goers enjoyed the hiking trails, sports fields, playgrounds and more as a way to reconnect with nature and find a sense of solace in a socially distanced and safe way. Even before the pandemic, The Parklands have made an impact on people from all over Kentucky and the region since its opening in 2011. “It’s about reintroducing people to nature and having an accessible way to have an adventure. Some might think that they have to travel several hours and instead only have to drive 20-30 minutes to have access to bike trails or a kayak outing. Those options are all right here in The Parklands’ backyard. It’s something that I think is unique to our state and region,” said Director of Communications & Marketing for The Parklands, Anna Rosales-Crone.
To continue to provide free access to The Parklands 365 days a year and maintain the nearly 4,000 acres of land it encompasses, the highly anticipated annual fundraiser, Field and Fork, will bring people together who love and care deeply about The Parklands in hopes of raising money for their annual operations.
Now in its ninth year, Field and Fork presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co. is Co-Chaired by Mac and Jessica Thompson, who returned home to Louisville some years ago partially due to a “need for green space, The Parklands being one of the many ways we can reach the outdoors on a weekly basis,” said Jessica. While growing their business White Clay, which was founded in 2006 to provide consulting services and custom software solutions for regional bank partners, the Thompson’s are passionate about staying involved in the community and supporting the many treasures of our region. Mac has been on the board at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and Actors Theatre, and Jessica is serving on the Louisville Zoo Foundation’s Board of Trustees to name a few. The Thompsons believe that Louisville is a place where it’s small enough that, if you take the time to make connections, you can have an impact.
The Thompson’s have attended Field and Fork for many years, and because of their love of The Parklands, they were honored to become Co-Chairs this year. When asking them what it means to them, Jessica said, “We’ve worked with many of the people at The Parklands previously and when we were asked, it just felt natural.”
This year, Field and Fork will be hosted on September 11, 2021, at the beautiful Brown-Forman Silo Center in Turkey Run Park. “After a year of being away, guests will be able to enjoy a delicious dinner, relaxing evening and so much more,” said Rosales-Crone.
Additionally, Field and Fork will host a live auction with a wide variety of items that guests can preview online. Included in the auction and new this year, Maker’s Mark has donated a unique Private Selection Experience at Star Hill Farm, home of National Historic Landmark, the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY. The winning bidder will be taken on an intimate whiskey adventure where they will get to explore the grounds, including places usually reserved for master distillers, and handcraft their own personal barrel of Maker’s Mark.
One of Jessica’s favorite parts of the evening is The Afterglow, where guests can come together, look up into the night sky and appreciate The Parklands’ splendor. As for Mac’s favorite part, he shared, “The overall experience of being outside at the park, underneath the stars and near the gorgeous barn just gives you this amazing feeling for why you’re there and what you’re trying to accomplish.”
If guests are unable to attend Field and Fork, The Parklands will be hosting other fundraising events throughout the end of 2021 and in 2022. “Another easy way to support The Parklands is simply by visiting,” said Rosales-Crone. “Exploring the area and coming out for a run, hike or bike ride is a great way to learn about and enjoy the area.” As for the Thompsons, they continue to support and encourage others to visit the parks since, “The Parklands provide a [nearly] 4,000-acre backyard for the community to exercise, engage in activities and live and experience the outdoors,” said Mac. “The Parklands itself is an impactful experience that brings people together and that shared experience is one of the reasons why The Parklands is something we continue supporting.”
The Parklands of Floyds Fork
Beckley Creek Pkwy
Louisville, KY 40245