FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Horses and equine culture have long been part of Franklin, Tennessee’s soul. No horse more so than Midnight Sun, the famed Tennessee Walking Horse Grand Champion that called Harlinsdale Farm home. Now visitors and residents alike will see many more horses around downtown, assuming they can figure out a few clues along the way. The first project to be approved by the newly formed Franklin Public Arts Commission, the Midnight Sun Scavenger Hunt, was publicly unveiled today at the Park at Harlinsdale Farm.
“We are excited for this exciting new addition to the downtown area,” said Visit Franklin President & CEO Ellie Westman Chin. “This will be a fun way for visitors and locals alike to explore the extensive history throughout downtown Franklin in a fun and active way.”
Ten bronze horse statues – each slightly smaller than a football – have been strategically hidden and permanently installed at various locations with historic significance in the downtown Franklin area. Searchers will follow clues to find the miniature horse replicas all while learning a little about Franklin’s past in a fun, family-friendly way.
The bronze statues were commissioned by Visit Franklin, with the help of local supporters, and created by renowned sculptor Janel Maher of Franklin who’s other works can be found in collections across the United States, Europe, and South America. Midnight Sun was chosen as the namesake of the project to honor what the World Champion horse meant to the equine community around Franklin, and the entire Tennessee Walking Horse community.
“We wanted these statues to be true works of art that would add to the character and charm of Franklin,” noted Westman Chin. “Janel Maher did an incredible job of creating a lasting image with each of these bronze statues, and we are very proud to make it the first project of the Public Arts Commission.”
Franklin Mayor Ken Moore added, “the work of the new Franklin Art Commission adds to our quality of life and the visitor experience. Starting with Midnight Sun gives it that historic touch that is Franklin.”
Initial community partner investors in the Midnight Sun Scavenger Hunt included: A. Marshall Family Foods, Chartwell Hospitality, Danny Anderson, Franklin Synergy Bank, Mars Petcare, Paula Harris, Stewart Parking Solutions, Tennessee Equine Hospital, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and The Parker McCoy Group.
ABOUT MIDNIGHT SUN Midnight Sun is the most famed Tennessee Walking Horse Grand Champion in the United States. The stallion from Harlinsdale Farm in downtown Franklin quickly became one of the leading sires of the Tennessee Walking Horse breed and went on to become World Champion of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in 1945 and 1946. He was such a renowned champion that since 1949, only four horses that have won the annual Tennessee Walking Horse World Championship were not of the direct Midnight Sun bloodline. Midnight Sun lived 25 years, 21 of which were at Franklin’s Harlinsdale Farm. When he died in November of 1965, he was buried on the farm at a gravesite that is still visible today.
ABOUT VISIT FRANKLIN Visit Franklin is the public brand name of the Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Visit Franklin is the official destination marketing organization for Franklin and the unique communities of Williamson County, Tennessee. Visit Franklin stimulates economic growth through the promotion of travel and tourism assets such as history, music, attractions, entertainment, the arts, and events to visitors from around the world. For information on Franklin and Williamson County, visit us on the web at VisitFranklin.com.