PHOTOS: Caffeine & Carburetors Makes Waveny Debut

Hundreds of auto enthusiasts gathered at a windswept Waveny Park Sunday afternoon for a special installment of the grassroots car show that grew out of a more intimate event that started just four years ago at New Canaan resident Doug Zumbach’s eponymous gourmet coffee shop on Pine Street.

The Waveny debut of Caffeine & Carburetors took the show that in April, for the first time ever, expanded from Pine to Elm Street downtown, and placed it in the heart of what most New Canaanites would call the town’s great treasure.

Parked in the Orchard Field lot, alongside the Carriage Barn Arts Center, around the loop in front of Waveny House and on both sides of the access road toward Lapham, classic and specialty cars lined up against the picturesque backdrop of the mansion, fields and trees in autumn. Visitors, many gripping dog leashes or pushing baby strollers, moved in and out of each area, directed by Zumbach’s volunteers and often sipping his brew, purchased at a stand in the Orchard lot.

“I think it looks great,” New Canaan’s Tucker Murphy, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce said near the stone wall near the entrance to the circle in front of Waveny House, where Peter Bush of FM 9.59 The Fox emceed. “Looking in at the mansion with all these fabulous cars, it doesn’t get much better than that. I’m having a hard time judging the size of it, because it feels so much more spread out here, which I like, actually. Certainly on a beautiful fall day, I think it’s great. I really do.”

Caffeine & Carburetors became such a big draw that, in April, it expanded from Pine to Elm Street downtown—an evolution that seemed to benefit eateries in the business district. It became a practical challenge to hold the event there six times per year, as planned, and while officials here figured out just what was best for the town, Caffeine & Carburetors after May took a brief break from New Canaan—essentially missing only June, since it’s not held in July or August—prior to returning last month to the village center. Parks and other officials green-lighted Sunday’s trial run at Waveny, and certainly a postmortem will help determine whether and just how future events will go.

Future plans likely will include some combination of events downtown and in Waveny.

“I think we’ve hopefully struck the right balance of having some in town, and having some out of [the village center],” Murphy said. “I think this venue actually does lend itself to something like this.”

The special installment of Caffeine & Carburetors included a call for participants and spectators to bring donations for the New Canaan Food Pantry, and a few dozen bags of non-perishables appeared to have been amassed. It also included children’s workshops down at the Carriage Barn Arts Center, where co-directors Eleanor Flatow and Arianne Kolb hosted dozens of New Canaan families—many checking out the gallery itself.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of kids coming down,” Flatow said. “It’s just been great, a steady stream of people coming into the gallery and learning about our upcoming spring show called ‘The Art of the Vehicle’ and our fundraiser on May 16. It’s going to be an amazing show.”

‘The Art of the Vehicle’ will open April 18, 2015, and the Carriage Barn’s spring fundraiser will be “Monaco Grand Prix,” sponsored in part by Bankwell, Hutchinson Tree Specialists, Karl Chevrolet, Moffly Media and Zumbach’s Gourmet Coffee. Additional sponsors are needed—for more information, contact the New Canaan Society for the Arts and Carriage Barn Arts Center at 203-972-1895. 

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