Friday Evening: Women’s World Cup ‘Viewing Picnic’ Planned for Pop Up Park


Though plans to install the Pop Up Park downtown permanently through the summer have been indefinitely suspended, one local organization is moving forward—with blessings from all parties—with a Women’s World Cup “viewing picnic” to be held Friday evening at South Avenue between Morse Court and Elm Street.

The New Canaan Soccer Association is encouraging locals to wear red, white and blue and attend the event that it organized and for which it secured town approval last month.

Three big-screen TVs will air Australia vs. Nigeria at 5 p.m., followed by the United States vs. Sweden at 8 p.m.

“Please bring your own food and drink,” the association says. “Please do not bring soccer balls to the event.” The makeshift park itself—including portable fencing, chairs and tables—will be set up in the afternoon and broken down after the late game, organizers say.

Last summer, a (men’s) World Cup viewing party in the Pop Up Park that had been organized by the park’s committee (as opposed to Friday’s picnic, which is a NCSA event) drew hundreds of residents.

“While we are disappointed that there won’t be more fun events this summer, we are thrilled to see this family event take place with the endorsement of merchants and park fans,” said Tucker Murphy, a member of the volunteer committee that had created and overseen the Pop Up Park.

The U.S. Women’s World Cup side won their first game in group play, defeating Australia 3-1 on Monday. After Sweden, they’ll take on Nigeria next Tuesday with an eye on advancing to the second round.

The Pop Up Park viewing picnic, operated with support from the town and Barbara Cleary’s Realty Guild, will “showcase the new turf fields associated with the Ram Spirit Fund,” the soccer association said in its flyer.

That fund is designed mainly to support a $2 million project for new turf fields at the high school, serving multiple youth and high school sports teams.

Mike Murphy, the incoming president of the All Sports Booster Club and one leader of the Ram Spirit Fund, said both groups are “very appreciative of the NCSA’s continued support for the envisioned new turf fields at the Water Tower.”

“The NCSA’s efforts in raising grassroots awareness for the Ram Spirit Fund is beginning to take root within the community. We have received financial support from approximately 10 percent of the families who have children registered in both youth and high school sports programs in New Canaan. A representative participation rate of 75 percent would certainly make this initiative a success for the entire community.”

Meanwhile, Friday’s use of the Pop Up Park by the NCSA could mark the last time the area is used for such an event. Though the Police Commission on May 20 approved the use of the block for the Pop Up Park for three consecutive weekends starting May 30 and then continuously from high school graduation (next week) to Labor Day, members of the Pop Up Park Committee suspended their activity after some merchants raised concerns about traffic, parking and business.

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