‘Everyone Helped To Make It Happen’: Family Fourth at Waveny Draws Thousands [PHOTOS]

About 2,000 New Canaan residents purchased family passes to attend the 37th Annual Family Fourth of July Celebration on Tuesday—a figure that organizers are pointing to in noting the great success of yet another picnic and fireworks show.

Funded not by taxpayer dollars but by ticket sales, the hugely popular, iconic New Canaan event has rebounded nicely in just a few years after monies from the private fund were depleted, prompting the all-volunteer Family Fourth Committee to urge those who drive or walk in to get a pass.

According to committee Chairman Tom Stadler, the work of volunteers is essential.

Stadler told NewCanaanite.com that his very simple message to those people is “Thank you.”

“So many people make that thing happen,” Stadler said. “There are guys there at six in the morning setting up. They know what to do, and by 6:30 the next morning you wouldn’t know that thousands of people had been there the night before.”

Stadler, who began working with the event contracting skydivers “many years ago,” also credited a supportive shift in attendees’ thinking about the Family Fourth.

“What I don’t want to hear is that you didn’t pay for a pass and came in through the backwoods,” he said. “What’s important is that everyone helped to make it happen.”

An exact number of attendees has not been tallied, as any number of people could have come in a pass-holding car, but total attendance is estimated to be several thousand. For the picnic, event goers could either bring their own fare from home or purchase a meal from one of eight food trucks. Options included local favorite Valencia Luncheria, which offers empanadas and arepas, HAPA, with Asian Pacific cuisine, and Lobster Craft, alongside trucks serving the classic pizza, hot dogs, and burgers.

“The food trucks were a great success,” Stadler said, adding that many had even sold out by the end of the night.

“It’s quintessential New Canaan, to see all these families and people come together to make this happen,” he said. “Without the police, fire, Parks and Recreation Departments, as well as volunteers from CERT [Community Emergency Response Team], this would never work out every year.”

Stadler offered a special thank you to two volunteers who were charged with keeping the Port-a-Potties clean throughout the night.

Community mainstays such as Walter Stewart’s and the New Canaan Toy Store also chipped in by helping to sell passes. Anna Krolikowski of Baskin Robbins also aided the effort. Asked about her experience in selling Family Fourth passes, she said: “We had people at our door at 7 o’clock the morning of the Fourth. We don’t open until 11:30.” Demand was similar at other locations, with lines out the door at Stewart’s. Each location sold out of their allotted 100 tickets every day since they began selling.

2 thoughts on “‘Everyone Helped To Make It Happen’: Family Fourth at Waveny Draws Thousands [PHOTOS]

  1. Well done, Tom Stadler and all who helped make this wonderful event happen! It was a perfect evening–quintessential New Canaan!

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