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During a special tour of the wine-making operation for some Vanderbilt VIPs, the "New to This Town" singer received a plaque from the hospital for his generosity and longtime commitment. Like a proud father, he walked his guests from room to room, passionately explaining the intricacies of winemaking and how the vineyard keeps expanding due to growing demand. Later, from high above on a second-story deck, he watched as the wine sales line grew longer and longer and the crowd grew bigger and bigger at the inaugural event he'd envisioned and brought to life.
Kix later took the stage on a hill just beyond the rows of grapevines and thanked the community for visiting his burgeoning vineyard in support of such a worthy cause.
"Thanks for coming out today, y'all!" he announced to thunderous applause. "I hate when nobody shows up! [laughs] I'd like to thank Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and everybody that's involved. We are really, really fortunate to have a hospital like this in our community. And I've been really blessed to go down there for the last 20 years and be involved and be on the Board. A lot of times when you think about Vanderbilt, you think about a bunch of rich people, but it's no different than a lot of great charity hospitals. No children are turned away at Vanderbilt. They take care of everybody up there ... it's not a money thing. It's a hospital, but it's full of loving and caring."
Kix then treated the eager crowd to a mixed set of old favorites from his Brooks & Dunn days and new songs from his upcoming solo album, New to This Town, like the rollicking "Let's Do This Thing." As the balloons sailed across the landscape and the sun began to set, the vineyard seemed like a perfect setting for such an event, and Kix says he definitely hopes to expand it in years to come.
"We're very proud to have Vanderbilt involved, and my mission for this year was to let people enjoy this and become aware of what a great hospital we have," he explains, going on to reveal his bigger goals for the second annual Harvest Party. "My vision for the future is, we bought the 20 acres next door and it has two houses, a big barn and a beautiful outdoor theater there, and I would love to have sort of like a steeplechase. We'd let that area be a VIP area next year, and make it an official balloon festival where we have rides and still have this open to the public and keep the awareness up on Vanderbilt ... So it's not necessarily a paid event, but people will be having fun. And then we can have events next door, too, and share the love on both sides of the fence. I'd love to see it grow as years go on and be something we can all be proud of!"
Kix invited The Boot's cameras to the Harvest Party and sat down with us for an exclusive interview. Look for our video of the day's events later this month, right here on The Boot.