By Jay Kerner
There have been a handful of moments in my life where I’ve jumped off a cliff. Real ones into lakes and rock quarries, but also a few metaphorical leaps (like starting a drive-in theater and a newspaper). Had another when we committed to the first JoeStock festival over a decade ago.
We’d never taken on a project with so many moving parts. Or one that required cooperation from so many people and organizations. Scared the crap out of me.
But we pulled it off with yeoman’s work from our friends at The St. Joseph Music Foundation. After year two, we realized they were carrying the mail, and let them run with it. They did, and just held their 10th annual, this past Labor Day Weekend. Love those guys!
I thought I was done with the festival business. But,noooo!
I’m the dummy that spent good money trademarking the phrase, “St. Joseph, Missouri – Tenderloin Capital of the World!” Admittedly, a blatant, tourism come-on, I mainly did it because nobody else was.
Like so many of my brainstorms, I didn’t know what I was getting into.
I knew it was a passionate topic. Especially for folks in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, the hotbed of tenderloin heritage. We no doubt, pissed a few people off at first. But we made it clear that we’re not claiming to be first, biggest, best, or anything like that. We’re just crazy for tenderloins here, and are lucky enough to have a lot of great ones to choose from.
When you apply for a trademark, you have to choose a category of use. I chose Non-Profit fundraising. I figured I’d turn it over to an existing charity and let them figure out how to make money from it. I talked to a lot of different groups, but most of the larger established ones already had long-established fundraisers. It finally occurred to me that the only way this thing was going to go forward was to jump in myself.
I blame City Councilman Kent “Spanky” O’Dell. He was a vocal supporter early on and has been pushing for this ever since. (Trust me, if you’re at the edge of a cliff with Spanky behind you, you’re going over and he is, too!) Of course, it never hurts to have friends at City Hall when you’re considering something like this.
The Regular Joe owns the trademark but we needed an established non-profit to work with.
Re-enter our old pals at The St. Joseph Music Foundation. Together, we’ve been cooking something up.
Here’s what we know so so far:
*We’re holding the first annual WORLD TENDERLOIN CHAMPIONSHIP as part of this year’s JoeStock Music Festival! We’ll invite the best from around the world to compete with the best from these parts, and crown champions in several categories. We’ll have ‘people’s choice’ tasting! And of course, the most live, local music of any festival in town.
*JoeStock is moving. Both the location and the dates. It’s moving to Civic Center Park, behind City Hall, and the dates for our inaugural 2020 event will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 31 through August 2.
*It will continue to be a free music festival. There will be a charge to participate in the tasting events, but the music at JoeStock is free.
*There’s room for YOU and/or YOUR GROUP OR ORGANIZATION to be involved. We’ve got ideas for several other themed events that could be run by other groups. Like a “Tenderloin Queen”pageant? Perhaps a greased pig contest? Tenderloin runs, both on foot and on motorcycles? Imagine the tenderloin merch possibilities? We’d love to have the 4H and FFA kids involved. Or most anybody else! We’re open to ideas.
*Finally, we’re absolutely making it up as we go along. We’re going to copy some things we’ve seen work well for other events, but the tenderloin thing is new. Nobody’s done it. Also, we think this will be the first St. Joe festival, really intended to draw from outside the area. (The Tenderloin People travel!) Our goal is to fill the hotels and the local restaurants, not to mention the museums, the shopping districts and everyplace else.
So holler back! Let us know if you’d like to be involved. You can be a competitor. You can be a judge. You can be a sponsor. You can rent a space and hawk your own stuff. You can sure as heck be a volunteer. However you’d like to be involved, you likely can be.
We’ll be scheduling an organizational meeting for interested parties shortly after the holidays. Let us know you’d like to attend and we’ll keep you informed.