Published on Saturday, 17 June 2017, New Britain Herald, Written by Skyler Frazer
King of the Hill
NEW BRITAIN – An overcast sky didn’t stop car enthusiasts as thousands of people headed to Klingberg Family Centers on Saturday for the 25th annual Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival. The 40-acre lot at Klingberg Family Centers was filled with hundreds of classic and exotic cars from across the country and all over the world. For $20, people could register their cars for the festival. Any vehicle pre-1942 was free to register. As in years past, the money raised at the annual festival goes to fund programs Klingberg offers to the community. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Mark Johnson, vice president of Klingberg Family Centers. “We’re very thankful to our more than 110 sponsors and the people in the community that have come out to support us.” Johnson estimated that between 2,500 and 3,000 people attended the festival Saturday. As for vehicles predating 1942, there were many on display during the festival.
One such vehicle is the “Jumbo,” a 21-foot long firetruck from the late 1800s. The vehicle was purchased by the city of Hartford in 1899 from a company in Manchester, New Hampshire. Twenty-two of the engines were built, but Jumbo is the only one of its kind known to have survived. Weighing between 11 and 12 tons and standing more than 10 feet tall, Jumbo is certainly a behemoth of a machine. Johnson said this is probably the first time Jumbo has been on display since the 1950s, as it’s been sitting in a warehouse. Johnson said his favorite vehicle on display Saturday was the 1912 Oldsmobile Defender, owned by Richard King. “It’s perfection. That is an absolutely elegant vehicle,” Johnson said. Connecticut was represented well at the 25th annual festival, too. A 1901 steam-powered Locomobile that was made in Bridgeport was also on display, as was a 1909 Pope-Hartford automobile, built by the legendary Pope Manufacturing Company out of Hartford. Natalie Lynne Smith from Klingberg’s Board of Trustees said there were at least 339 vehicles at the festival this year, even with the threat of rain. From Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis to old Fords, Chevys and Shelbys, there was a vehicle of interest for everyone. Smith said that the annual festival is a fantastic event for the community. “It’s just a wonderful event that supports families and children,” Smith said. “And especially on Father’s Day weekend – what could be better?”
Eric Sanders was celebrating an early Father’s Day with his son James and daughter Lily. Sanders said the family drove from East Windsor to get a look at the vintage vehicles on display. “We were worried about rain when we woke up, but it’s definitely held off and it’s been a great day so far,” Smith said. Throughout the day, sponsors for the event handed out awards to their favorite cars. DATTCO gave an award to Patrick Kiniry for his 1969 Volkswagen Transporter. Jesse Morton took home an award from Earthlight Technologies for his 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Custom Dual-Cowl Phaeton. Cars weren’t the only thing going on at Klingberg on Saturday, though. For those that were less auto-centric, there were food trucks, face painting and many activities for kids. A DJ provided the soundtrack for the day, playing oldies that complemented the vintage cars on display. All proceeds benefit Klingberg Family Centers’ mission to extend hope and healing to children and families whose lives have been affected by abuse, trauma, severe family problems and behavioral health issues. Through an array of treatment programs, Klingberg offers children and parents the encouragement and skills they need to function more effectively at home, in school, and in the community.