'Caffeine & Carburetors' stays in gear despite shifting sites
Same speed, different spot.
More than 700 vintage vehicles of every make and model imaginable filled a new Caffeine & Carburetors venue at New Canaan's Waveny Park on Sunday morning.
Despite some controversy surrounding the automotive showcase's move from downtown to the park grounds, initial reaction to the relocation was enthusiastic.
"I think it's great," said Dustin Reid of New Canaan, who brought his 2-year-old son Asher. "It's a lot of fun. It's great to bring my son too."
"I grew up with cars with my father," he said. "It's just a great way to spend a Sunday."
It was the first time in the six-year history of Caffeine & Carburetors that the event took place at Waveny. Organizers won support from town officials last month to move the gathering to the park for a one-time trial. The car show, which has been held downtown six times a year, has grown so popular that the town is no longer able to provide each of the planned shows with adequate police coverage.
Recreation Director Stephen Benko said Monday it was "hard to tell" how many car enthusiasts attended Sunday's event because many people were not at the park for the gathering, as other activities were taking place there that morning, but added that the show ran smoothly.
"I think it went very well," he said. "There were no issues whatsoever."
Many of the show cars were on display at the "horseshoe" driveway in front of Waveny House, while others were on the adjacent lots and even on the lawn to Lapham Road -- where Benko said parking is normally allowed during sports events.
Tucker Murphy, town councilman and executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said it was hard to measure the crowd because "it seems so much more spread out" at the park compared to Pine and Elm streets, the event's traditional setting.
"It certainly looked a very good crowd over there," she said Monday. "Everything seemed to be orderly and I didn't see anybody driving fast and, certainly, it was a great venue when you walk through the pillars by the main house to see all the beautiful cars in the `horseshoe' there."
Murphy also said she did not see any littering and had no problem finding a parking space. Benko said many event-goers chose to park at New Canaan High School and walk over to the show.
It is not clear whether the downtown merchants benefitted from the Waveny event. Murphy said she drove to the center of town after the show, which ended at 11:30 a.m., and noticed "a lot of shows cars" in the area, but she hasn't yet been able to assess the impact of the show on the downtown.
When the Parks and Recreation Commission approved the event's move to Waveny, several commissioners were concerned that visitors would leave town via the Merritt Parkway as soon as the gathering ended instead of going downtown for brunch, which they said would not benefit the town.
Patrick Kryskiewicz of Trumbull seemed pleased to see hundreds of vehicles on display at the park. "I like that there are so many in one place," he said. "And the owners are so friendly. They're all into cars and it's nice."
Benko would not comment on the chances of having the event at the park again, saying it'll be up to the commission to decide.
Caffeine & Carburetors' founder Doug Zumbach, of Zumbach Gourmet Coffee, has said he'd like to have two gatherings downtown and two at Waveny starting next year. He could be reached for comment Monday.
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