The Medford Kiwanis Club partnered with P-Town Saloon and Grill to hold the inaugural Bucktoberfest last Saturday in Perkinstown.
By any quantifiable measure, the event was a huge success. People filled the tables scattered around the grounds of the P-Town from early morning until late into the night and Brandon and Nicole Butler of P-Town and their crew kept the beer flowing.
For many it was a great excuse to come out and enjoy one of the last few remaining nice fall weekends. Others came to show their support for Kiwanis and its ongoing mission to serve the children of the world.
The event’s success and the good time had by those in attendance didn’t happen by chance. It was due primarily to the vision, dedication and long hours of work put in by event chairs Jon and Molly Knoll. Without their efforts, the event would not have been as successful or even happened at all. In fairness Jon and Molly did not act alone, club members, other community volunteers and the support of donors provided the support needed to bring the event to a successful completion.
As someone who has helped plan his fair number of events over the years — some more successful than others — I feel I have some grounds for my observations of seeing Jon and Molly in action.
I was at the Kiwanis meeting when Jon proposed the idea of looking to hold a fall event in Perkinstown that highlighted what that region of Taylor County has to offer. The timing to hold it in conjunction with the opening of the archery deer season was what contributed to the event’s name.
The initial reception among club members was somewhat skeptical about how successful it could be and if we would even be able to pull something that size off. Starting any new event or activity is inherently terrifying and you go into it feeling like a tight-rope walker in a windstorm.
Jon and Molly worked tirelessly over the past several months from researching and booking the bands, chasing down basket raffle prizes and lining up tents, microphones, and everything needed to throw one heck of a good party. I am convinced that if Jon ever tires of selling real estate he could have a future in politics with his innate ability to sell people on nebulous ideas and the potential of something really cool happening. He is complemented by his wife Molly who alternately encourages him and helps rein him in and who makes sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.
Their drive is just the sort of thing that helps communities grow and thrive into the future. Jon and Molly went above and beyond to make sure the event was a success and even managed to have a near-perfect day with the exception of a brief downpour in the afternoon that did nothing at all to dampen anyone’s spirits.
As parents of young children, Jon and Molly could have easily sidestepped massive involvement in the event, but instead they made the time — drafting the help of their parents, friends and anyone else who wasn’t fast enough to run away and making the event a truly family affair.
There are people like Jon and Molly in every group and in every community. The people who give 110%, who are the last ones to leave when the lights go out and who are the first ones there in the morning to clean off the tables and pick up the trash and put things away.
The key is to tap into these young, energetic leaders, empower them and not stand in their way or criticize their decisions. Our communities need more people like Jon and Molly if rural areas will continue to remain viable in future decades.
All service organizations need to be on the lookout for their own emerging leaders, the Medford Kiwanis Club was just lucky enough to get to Jon first and that he is a good enough salesman to convince his wife to join in the work and help make things possible. Together they make a nearly unbeatable team and I look forward to seeing them continue to help shape our local communities for years to come.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.