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Harlinsdale Arena

Harlinsdale Arena

As construction on the new multi-purpose equestrian arena at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm nears completion, the City of Franklin Parks Department has added Kelly Mays to serve as programs specialist to market and coordinate events for the facility. Mays will work closely with the non-profit Friends of Franklin Parks, who will operate the arena in partnership with the City.

“Kelly’s 25 years of event management and production experience made her the perfect person to get the arena up and running,” said City of Franklin Parks Director Lisa Clayton. “We’ve already had a lot of interest from equestrian and other markets, and we see this facility as a resource that will create significant local and visitor traffic to the Park at Harlinsdale Farm.”

Mays earned a degree in economics from Hollins College near Roanoke, Va.  She began her event career in the high-tech industry in the early 1990s, working in trade shows and events for Lotus Development Corporation. Around the time the company was acquired by IBM in 1995, she decided to strike out as a freelance event producer and has since produced events for companies and organizations across a range of sectors, from automotive and pharmaceutical to hospitality and retail. Mays has worked on events for Mercedes-Benz, IBM, Microsoft, Lowe’s and a host of others.
A Florence, Ala. native, Mays began riding horses at the age of seven, and has been an equestrian enthusiast throughout her life. She was an active member of the United States Pony Club through high school and also fox hunted with the Fort Leavenworth Hunt. She currently owns a Belgian Warmblood named Massey, and spends as much time as possible in the saddle.
Mays was able to combine her love of horses and events when she managed the sponsorship program for the American Eventing Championships in 2011, before moving to Franklin in 2013.

“I’ve found my home in Franklin, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to utilize my event experience and love for horses in a way that will be meaningful to the community,” Mays said. “There are so many equine enthusiasts in this area, and we’re helping to preserve this historic farm and sharing an amazing story of the horse’s impact on Tennessee’s history over the last two centuries. This is a dream come true for me.”

The Harlinsdale programs specialist position will be housed within the City of Franklin’s Parks Department, and will ultimately transition to a position with Friends of Franklin Parks once the arena is operating at capacity.

The $1.1 million arena, a public-private partnership that has been funded largely by individual and corporate donations, is slated for completion in September. For more information on the project, visit

For information on booking the new Harlinsdale arena, Mays can be reached at or by phone at (615)-591-9428.