GRAFTON - A special visitor to Grafton had the village buzzing last July.
Seven months later, it is finally time for residents of the community to see what the crew of “Around the Corner with John McGivern” was up to as they made the rounds through the village last summer.
“He’s such an ambassador of Wisconsin, but it’s really more than that,” said Mike Tsuchihashi, owner of Atlas BBQ, 1304 12th St, which was one of McGivern’s stops. “You hear stories about how (John) gets along with anyone and everyone, and he really does … yeah, I got a little nervous when they came in and set up all the cameras, but then we just got to talking and I was immediately at ease.”
Tsuchihashi said he’s almost as excited to see the episode as he is for what it means for the village.
“He came in and just wanted to see us as we are,” he said. “So there we were in this historic building, eating a ton of food together while simultaneously representing our village. It was really quite an experience.”
A premier event featuring the community debut of the Grafton episode will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the auditorium at Grafton High School, 1950 Washington St. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the episode begins at 7 p.m.
“John’s visit really means a lot to us as a community,” said Pam King, executive director of the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce. “We think it’s going to offer great exposure for us across the board, which I think really validates how great a community we know we are.”
King said the buzz while McGivern was filming in town was remarkable, especially since the crew was in and out in a matter of a couple of days.
“I can’t believe how much they accomplished, how much they saw, in that short amount of time,” King said. “John has this personality that’s really larger than life, so it really was something to see as he worked and interacted with the people he was interviewing and the fans along the way.”
Producer Lois Maurer said the buzz is par for the course, as McGivern frequently attracts a lot of attention when filming the show, which highlights the people and places of local communities on Milwaukee Public Television.
"It happens all the time where we'll have fans coming up to ask for autographs or pictures," said Mauerer. "And the best part is John will put anyone at ease in 10 seconds flat. That's his gift."
Discovering and identifying what makes communities unique is one of the reasons McGivern says he loves what he does.
"I'm always surprised at what new things we find wherever we go," said McGivern. “It never ceases to amaze me, the hidden gems we have all over this beautiful state.”
Grafton’s hidden gems included Slow Pokes Local Food, the Arts Mill and Juices Ghost Town, in addition to several other stops the crew made along the way.
“(John) really has a way of identifying what makes up the heart and soul of a community … finding out why we are the way we are,” Tsuchihashi said. “I really can’t wait to see how the show turns out.”