Perfect weather adds a special shine to New Britain Car Show

Published on Sunday, 22 September 2019 20:57
Written by Michelle Jalbert


NEW BRITAIN - Cars of all kinds lined the streets of downtown Saturday. But it wasn’t traffic.

It was 13th annual New Britain Car Show.

Gerry Amodio, executive director of the New Britain Downtown District, said the show was lucky number 13, and lucky it was with 150 cars out and the sun shining.

For Amodio, the show was a perfect opportunity to showcase what the city has to offer.

“One of the biggest things when you do inner city marketing is that people know it’s safe, secure and that there’s things to do here,” Amodio said.

“We have cars from all over New England here,” he added, saying that many of the car enthusiasts will go home with a positive impression of the city. “That’s our goal: to make New Britain shine in everyone’s eyes.”

The event, which included antiques, muscle cars and street rods, benefited the New Britain Police Explorers. The program teaches young people about law enforcement and life skills.

“It’s a great organization,” said Paul Catanzaro, senior warden of Unity Lodge 148 of the Connecticut Freemasons. “We’re very proud to give back.”

The Masons were at the event selling food, the proceeds of which also benefit the explorers.

“We’ve been doing this for several years,” Catanzaro added. “This is one of our biggest and best community outreach programs.”

One of the more eye-catching cars belonged to James Hellandbrand. He decorated his 1986 Cadillac Fleetwood Rome with zombies, rats and bats for Halloween.

Hellandbrand said he’s been doing Halloween at car shows for 11 or 12 years. He got into it when he did Halloween with his kids.

“And it just took off,” he said.

“I know a lot of people at this car show,” Hellandbrand said. “And I like doing things for the kids. I got to stay young somehow.”

Sheila Wagner attended with her grandson and his mother.

“It’s a great event,” she said. “A lot of beautiful cars. It’s great seeing all the bees. It’s really turning New Britain around.”

Adrian Cieplinski, first contingent marshal for “Mala Polska,” came to the event to not only look at cars, but to let people know about the Pulaski Day Parade in New York City on Oct. 6. He mentioned that there will be buses from New Britain to the city so people can attend.

He was also a fan of the car show, adding that he liked both the older and newer cars.

“I love that people are keeping the tradition alive,” Cieplinski said.

Michelle Jalbert can be reached at

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Sunday, 22 September 2019 20:57. Updated: Sunday, 22 September 2019 21:00.