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Cecil County Life

Fairwinds Farm and Stables supplies animals for TV and film

Jan 08, 2015 06:09PM ● By Kerigan Butt

Fairwinds Farm supplied horses, driving rigs and chickens for the PBS production, 'Prince Among Slaves.

Since 1995, the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University has provided an annual update of opportunities and threats to Maryland's economy at their Economic Outlook Conference. The 2013 Economic Outlook Conference focused on the growing film industry in Maryland.

The Cecil County Office of Economic Development was a sponsor of the conference and had two members of the Cecil County Economic Development Commission in attendance, Mary Kuna and JoAnn Dawson.

Dawson is the owner of Fairwinds Farm and Stables, Inc., in North East. She has seen the positive impact of the film industry in Maryland, as both a actress and small business owner.  

JoAnn Dawson with actor Kevin Kilner from 'House of Cards.'

"At Fairwinds Farm & Stables, we offer a variety of services open to the public, including riding lessons, horse shows, birthday parties, hay rides, pony rides, summer camp, tea parties, trail rides, horse-drawn carriages, seasonal fresh produce, and a bed and breakfast,” Dawson said. “As an actress and SAG/AFTRA member, I have been cast in a number of commercials and was lucky enough to earn speaking roles in a couple of major films (“The Sixth Sense,” “Twelve Monkeys”), as well as doing background [extra] work. Along the way, Ted and I thought it would be fun to offer our expertise as animal wranglers, supplying farm and other animals as well as a farm location and farm equipment.

“We have since worked on a variety of print, TV, stage and film projects, wrangling dogs, goats, sheep, horses, carriages, pigs, chickens, ponies, donkeys, and most recently ducks with the 'Duck Dynasty' guys in Washington, D.C.,” Dawson said. “I have recently obtained work on 'House of Cards,' as both an actress and horse wrangler.

“The film industry has been very good to us as a small business owner, providing numerous opportunities for extra income. We are listed in several area production guides, and our farm has been used as a location for an independent film which held its trailer premiere at Fairwinds in October. We have worked with major projects filmed in Maryland, such as Oprah Winfrey's 'Beloved,' 'For Richer or Poorer' with Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley, 'Prince Among Slaves,' 'Ladder 49' with John Travolta, 'Game Change' and 'Weapon Masters,' to name a few.

“We have hauled a horse and carriage up two flights in a freight elevator onto a stage for a western opera at the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore,” Dawson said. “We've carried Santa in a carriage through the middle of a busy mall, and slept with a pig to help it calm down for a photo shoot in Philadelphia. We've transported a donkey to Washington D.C. for a Marie Claire fashion shoot.

“We love opportunities to showcase Cecil County, such as providing horses and carriages for a Maryland history booklet and an MPT broadcast on covered bridges, both shot at Fair Hill,” she said. “There is never a dull moment at Fairwinds Farm!"
Cecil County has been the location for filming parts of movies and television series, including “Absolute Power,” “Beloved,” “Tuck Everlasting,” and “From Within.”

From the Cecil County Office of Economic Development

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