Parks & Rec Approves Second Annual ‘Waveny Arts Festival’ for Oct. 6


Parks officials last week approved an Oct. 6 arts event for Waveny that saw more than 1,000 attendees turn out during its debut last year.

The Parks & Recreation Commission voted unanimously to approve the second annual Waveny Arts Festival, which will run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on that Sunday in October.

2023 Waveny Arts Festival. Credit: Carriage Barn IG (

Organized by the Carriage Barn Arts Center, the inaugural festival was “a great success,” according to the nonprofit organization’s executive director, Hilary Wittmann.

“It was a relatively turnkey event that the whole community loved—we had an amazing turnout and are looking to repeat the event again and expand it a little bit,” Wittmann told members of the Commission at their regular meeting, held Feb. 7 at the Lapham Community Center.

She added: “The elements of this would be artists and artisans from the area would be exhibiting, setting up 10-by-10 displays in the area in front of the Carriage Barn up to the Powerhouse Theatre parking area. And we’re hoping this year to also expand into that sort of parking circle just above the Powerhouse parking area near the entrance to the new patio and the ‘peony walk.’ So we would curate the artists that are participating and all of them again would sign a liability release form. The Carriage Barn would file an event permit with the town of New Canaan and provide an insurance rider for the day of the event. Once again, the Carriage Barn would produce directional signage for all attendees and parking. We worked closely with [Parks & Recreation Director] John [Howe] to just coordinate anything else and his crew was really helpful with helping us set up the stage for the band and the performers the day before the event.”

Beyond that coordination, nothing is required of the Parks Department, Wittmann said.

“It was really staffed by our volunteers, Carriage Barn members,” she said. “We partnered with some other nonprofit organizations to be a part of this and give them the opportunity to promote what they do and highlight and participate in the event. Any garbage generated from the event was handled by the Carriage Barn’s dumpster. The restrooms were used at the Carriage Barn and the Powerhouse Theatre.”

The Commission voted unanimously to approve the festival’s use of Waveny. Those voting included Parks & Rec Chair George Benington, Secretary Francesa Segalas and Commissioners Doug Murphy, Susan Lione, Keith Richey, Lindsey Heron, Hank Green and Tim Klimpl. Commissioners Gene Goodman, Jake Granito and Steve Haberstroh were absent.

Richey asked whether the Carriage Barn had coordinated with the Town Players “so that it fits in with their schedule.” Wittmann said yes.

The Carriage Barn lucked out with a “beautiful day” last year, she said.

“Lots of families, but really attracted people of all ages to come and meet the artists,” she said. “Also, we had entertainment throughout the day with live bands. We had a puppet performance. We had a group of performers from the Town Players next door performing a little preview of their upcoming event. We had free arts and crafts activities for kids in front of the Carriage Barn. And then, as I said, other nonprofits were a part of this. We just are very excited to do it again. And hoping that we can expand and use that additional space. So I know that would probably require having some of those vehicles that are usually parked there on the weekend, moved. But it sounded from John, like that was doable if we arranged for it.”

Howe said it would not be a problem.

Bennington congratulated Wittmann and the Carriage Barn on its successful festival last year.

“I know it took a lot of work to get this off the ground,” he said.

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