Concours d'Elegance outgrows Fairfield County Hunt Club
The Fairfield County Concours d'Elegance's vintage and classic automobiles will not be rolling to the Fairfield County Hunt Club in Westport next year, according to an announcement on the event's website.
The announcement states the annual car show is "redesigning its future programs" because it has lost the hunt club location after outgrowing its Long Lots Road property. The eighth annual car show took place at the club last September.
Hunt club officials "said it was taxing the staff and the facilities," John Shuck, Concours' president and director of operations, said Tuesday, adding that the event has grown by 25 to 40 percent every year. "The events they have are considerably smaller than ours, and we've grown considerably."
The event, co-founded in 2004 by Shuck and Concours Chairman Bill Scheffler, has grown from a "fledgling show" at Westport's Veterans Green to become one of the nation's top-10 automobile and motorcycle events, the announcement states.
The show moved in 2007 to the hunt club, allowing for new exhibits, a full weekend of events, partnership with additional sponsors and the addition of Bonham's automotive and automobilia auctions in 2010 and 2011, the website states.
This year's event attracted about 4,000 visitors on Saturday and about 10,000 people on Sunday viewing a field of 230 show cars, Shuck said.
"You've got to worry about parking and some of the cars come in semis, and you've got about 10 of those and about 30 car trailers," said Shuck, who was informed of the club's decision two weeks ago. "Finding space was getting more difficult. It kind of reached a critical mass."
Shuck said Concours organizers added satellite parking for the event's visitors to relieve stress on the neighborhood and the facilities.
"They didn't think it was good enough," he said.
Organizers are actively looking for a new site for the event, which has become home to the Bonham's auction, Shuck said.
"We felt a real obligation to them," he said.
Shuck said plans are in the works to downsize the event, but it has still been difficult to find a suitable location.
"It's kind of late in the game to pick up everything and move," he said. "Some of the sites we're looking at have no facilities at all, so it's not that simple."
Messages left with the hunt club seeking comment were not returned as of early evening Tuesday.
To date, the annual event has raised more than $100,000 for the Drive to Treat Autism Fund, supporting services for children and adolescents with developmental and Autism Spectrum Disorders through St. Vincent's Behavioral Health Services in Bridgeport and Westport, the announcement states.
For information, visit www.fairfieldcountyconcours.com.