By Genesis Shawkey
Festivals, fundraisers, and other special events are great ways for businesses to interact with members of their community. They also allow the business to give back or support a cause, which can help show people what the business is all about.
As an intern at Kolbeco, I got the exciting opportunity of working with Pole Position Raceway St. Louis to plan Kartoberfest. The indoor go-kart facility wanted an intern that would be dedicated to their account, but they didn’t have the time internally to make this happen.
Kolbeco was asked by the owner of Pole Position, Mike Johnson, if they would be willing to hire an intern that would help with events and promotions. This is where I come in!
Kolbeco selected me due to my extensive background in party planning. I was given the task of planning and executing the 1st Annual Kartoberfest on October 26th and 27th, a fundraiser aimed to raise money for Autism Speaks St. Louis. While I had plenty of experience in party planning, I had never planned an event of this size before. Fortunately for me, I had the KolbeCo team on my side!
After months of planning and hard work, Kartoberfest was finally here!
Saturday’s events started with an Original Corvette Club car show, St. Louisiana Q food truck, Yo! Salsa food truck, Destination Dessert food truck and Show Me Kettle Corn. Later in the day, children were entertained with bounce houses, face painting and balloon artists. The favorite activity of the day was Cindy’s Zoo. Pole Position Raceway parking lot got a small makeover complete with hay and 10 different animals from mini pigs to a wallaby. Saturday night was capped off with “Cars” and “Talladega Nights” on the giant inflatable movie screen.
Mustang Club of St. Louis car show and bounce houses kicked off the Sunday morning events. Food trucks St. Louisiana Q, Deli on a Roll and Destination Desserts completed the afternoon events.
On Sunday evening, Kartoberfest ended with a fundraiser for Autism Speaks. The fundraiser featured free races for any child or adult on the autism spectrum and celebrity races. More than 30 families received a one of a kind experience, watching their child get to drive and race a go-kart, many of them for the first time. St. Louis celebrities including; former Cardinal Jim Edmonds, former Cardinal Brad Thompson, former Indianapolis 500 racer Robby McGehee, Guns N Roses guitarist Richard Fortus and 101 ESPN sportscaster Randy Karraker all raced at Kartoberfest during the Autism Speaks fundraiser.
Not only did this festival create a lot of fun for the attendees, but also, created a great deal of exposure for Pole Position Raceway. In the end, Pole Position Raceway donated $3,000 to Autism Speaks. Planning has already begun for a bigger and better Kartoberfest next year.
Oh, and the news gets even better! Because the event was so successful, Mike Johnson decided to hire me on full time to handle all events and promotion!
The knowledge I gained during my experience is invaluable. Everyone on the Kolbeco team encouraged and supported me throughout the planning and execution of Kartoberfest. I am so thankful for the great opportunity to work with Kolbeco and Pole Position Raceway.