How the Dan Jansen Festival changed my life

The annual Dan Jansen Festival begins today in Greenfield at Konkel Park. The following is an account of my solo visit there in 1999 and why it was so important. I can attest that details you’re about to read are authentic and true.

On that Friday night it wasn’t quite 6:00. I left the studios of Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10 after taping their weekly roundtable discussion program InterCHANGE. Once again the army of 6 or 7 flaming liberals did their utmost to decimate me, but in the end I stood triumphantly, the usual debate victor.

What now I wondered as I jumped on the expressway. Had no specific plans. I know. The Jansen Festival opened. Gotta be something interesting going on. I’ll just stop by to check it out.

Despite wearing a blue suit I didn’t feel the least bit out of place coming right from television. That’s because my tie was extremely plain.

It was a warm spring night. A beverage was in order. I soon found a booth where a group of Hooters gals was pouring beer for a local fundraiser.


But it was too crowded. Don’t know why, but I opted instead for a nearby spot where an area church had some good nuns selling hot coffee and glazed donuts. Why not? Dan Jansen would be proud I thought.

As I walked the grounds I was humbled (which I am a lot) by the folks who approached me saying they loved how I told off ultra-liberal Joel McNally on TV every week. One fellow did call me a right wing nut job, but I found out he had been at the Hooters area for the previous hour.

I was about to head out since the attention was starting to be bother me and I was having difficulty responding to all the InterCHANGE viewers I was running into when suddenly there he was. Live and in living color.

My good friend and former colleague at WUWM and WTMJ Jim Kaluzny.

“Hey big guy. Fancy meeting you. Why didn’t you tell me you would be here?”

Jim wasn’t alone.

No, my friend was escorting a female I had never seen with him before.  A first date.  And the young lady was intriguing.

I couldn’t help but be impressed by her stunning long curly hair that playfully fell all the way down her back.

The three of us talked and walked around the festival, although there wasn’t much talk. At least not on Jim and his date’s part.

At first I couldn’t understand. C’mon Jim. Pour your heart out. Win the chick over.

And then the lightning bolt struck.

Kevin, you fool. You know exactly what is going on. Jim is playing it cool, like he always does.  He’s operating cunningly, smoothly, just like a Polish Don Juan.

Make up an excuse you dope and get the hell outta there.

I left abruptly, claiming I had forgotten I had a Friday night Novena to attend at St. Stanislaus. As I departed all I could think of was that I had possibly ruined the chance those two becoming honest to goodness lovebirds by hanging around too long.

That night I could barely sleep. It was awful. Complete agony.

Until the next day when Jim informed that the two had a great time after I finally disappeared and they would see each other again. Hallelujah!

Jim had a DJ service for weddings that I assisted with, and about a month later we did an anniversary party for some friends at a south side tavern. Jim’s latest flame, Michele, knowing what a romantic stud Jim was, asked her best friend to come along to the party, just for some encouragement. That’s where I met and even danced with Jennifer. No big deal. I was just being nice.

But one thing led to another and Jennifer and I kind of got together.

We got engaged at Disney World in Florida.  She said yes and I still can’t believe it. Coulda sworn she’d decline.

Our wedding was fabulous.

We have an incredible daughter.

Jennifer and I never fight or argue. It’s heaven on earth.

And it’s all because of the Jansen Festival.

To this day Jennifer still gets angry correspondences from women I used to associate with when I was single.

And this is exactly how it all happened.

3 thoughts on “How the Dan Jansen Festival changed my life

  1. Wow, great story.

    I would like to tell you that Octogenarians don’t cry, but you really got to me there.

    Congratulations to both couples. Great people, all four. Although I only know two, I have read enough online to make me confident of that statement. And then two years later, I got re-married, and we have all lived happily ever after. As an Octogenarian with a good liver, I no longer drink, but for this, I will make an exception.

    Thanks for sharing.


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