PHOTOS: Waveny Park Conservancy’s Inaugural ‘Tailgate’ Party and Fundraiser Draws Hundreds

The Waveny Park Conservancy’s inaugural fundraiser came off in high style on Saturday night, as an estimated 400 to 500 locals enjoyed the cherished park’s first-ever tailgate party under a full “hunter’s moon.”

Town resident Joe Scarborough’s “Morning Joe Music” band played the balcony out back of Waveny House and had scores of the revelers dancing, while others warmed by a firepit and mingled about some 80 cars parked in four rows, before a massive inflatable TV broadcasting college football.

Brock Saxe, who co-chaired the event with Scott Gress, said: “We were very lucky that Joe Scarborough and his band offered their services for the first annual Waveny Park Conservancy tailgate, and we are happy that everybody in the community turned out to support the conservancy.”

He added: “It all made for a great evening.”

New Canaan’s Bob Seelert, chairman of the conservancy’s board, called the first-ever tailgate party “a fantastic event, displaying New Canaan at its best, and demonstrating that Waveny indeed is the town’s ‘crown jewel,’ with the community displaying great support for everything the conservancy is trying to do.”

What it’s trying to do includes redeveloping the disused “cornfields” area in the southeastern corner of Waveny and restoring the pond at the foot of the sledding hill, and evidence of the conservancy’s work already is evident in new trails that lead to the main house. The nonprofit organization also is focused on managing the park’s woodlands, improving the entrance from South Avenue and returning the gardens around Waveny House to what originally was envisioned by the Olmstead Brothers landscaping firm, hired by the Laphams more than 100 years ago.

The organization is still tallying all ticket sales from the tailgate, and Saxe noted that several residents additionally gave money to the conservancy at “the giving tree.” The group also sold out of its branded blankets early into the event, he said.

“A big thanks to Steve Benko, the Recreation Department, School of Rock and Phil Williams from New Canaan Music,” Saxe said. “Our Public Works Department was also a huge part of the tailgate’s success with Tiger Mann, Mose Saccary and the entire crew from the Highway Department deserving credit for planning and ensuring that the evening went so well on Saturday night.”

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