What on earth does the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, have to do with classic cars?
Well, the powers that be at the aquarium had an amazing idea to hold an event at that celebrates cars influenced by or named after fish. Calling the show “Barracudas, Sting Rays & More Show Cars from the Sea,” cars on display fit the bill to a T.
The collection of cars included Marlins, ‘Cudas, Stingrays, a Shark and even a few whale-tail Porsche 911 Turbos, among others. My favorites, a surprise to me as a sports car guy, were the pair of immaculately restored Rambler Marlins.
This themed show may sound at first like a bit of a reach, but when thinking about the event and after attending it, I wonder why more organizations don’t hold similar fund-raising events. If you had a horse charity you could hold a show with Mustangs and Broncos. Such events could work as out-of-the-box fundraisers and bring people to the events who can donate but who also can help the organizations by getting the word out to an entire new group of people.
I have lived in Connecticut for six years, am an avid scuba diver, and had never been to the aquarium, which is only an hour away from my home.
As much as I enjoyed seeing the cars, I had just as much fun when I saw the shark feeding, the baby sea turtle nursery, petted the stingrays, jiggled a jellyfish, and meet the seals. In fact ,while I initially intended to spend at best an hour at the show, I actually spent four hours and even joined the aquarium as a new member.
This fish-car show demonstrated to me that classic cars can be a very powerful tool well outside the usual concours or weekly cars-and-coffee events in bringing together a diverse and enthusiastic audience. These people can add that enthusiasm to other things besides cars if asked, and many other people who had never been to the aquarium were in the line with me for memberships.
If you belong to a museum or like organization, you might want to consider ways to leverage the amazing enthusiasm that the car hobby has into a way to not only celebrate cars but to bring a whole new group of people to the museum or other themed facility.
I hope that the folks at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium make this an annual event and that this is a catalyst for other museums and organizations to see how the great people in our collector car hobby can help them out while sharing the cars we love.
If you live in the Northeast, be sure to visit the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. It is a wonderful day-trip destination.
For more information, visit the museum’s website.