Kenny Brightman Jr. grew up around cars and car shows, as his father Ken is well-known for the Holiday at Home Invitational in Kettering.
“I was trying to figure out a way to bring all of the pieces together, not just a cruise-in or show, but create a place for everyone to get together,” Brightman explained recently. “This is a great car town; we have a great legacy and passionate car people. We needed a way to celebrate it, from rat rods to super cars and everything in between. I’d heard about Cars and Coffee in other towns and decided to give it a shot.”
It’s a simple concept: Pick a location, a time, no entry fee, judging or awards, just cars and coffee, and enthusiasts.
That first Saturday morning in spring of 2014 exceeded expectations when they gathered at the Home Depot on Feedwire Road in Sugarcreek Twp. “We lasted about five Saturdays there and outgrew the space pretty quickly; moved to Morris Home Furnishings and outgrew that, and then moved to the Greene Town Center,” he said.
“We were packed every other Saturday, and then one Saturday, we had like 600 cars show up. The Greene was gridlocked, Stroop Road was backed up and I realized we had outgrown the space there,” Brightman said. “Austin Landing had invited us to use their parking lots and we moved there.
“It just continues to get bigger; we now average 400 to 500 cars every week. We are the largest Cars and Coffee within a four-hour drive – larger than Columbus, Cincinnati or Indianapolis.”
Dayton Cars and Coffee will kick off its 2019 season on April 13 from 8 to 11 a.m. at Austin Landing. It will be held every other Saturday, rain or shine, until Oct. 14. Forgeline Motorsports, Hanson Audio Video and Acura of Dayton sponsor the bi-weekly events. The hospitality sponsor is the Hilton Garden Inn at Austin Landing.
There are usually two special events on the Dayton Cars and Coffee calendar each year. The first will fall on May 25 when DC&C partners with JoyRide for an event that brings cars to children with special needs. JoyRide is a car club exclusively for kids with special needs. During JoyRide events, kids trade the everyday worry of doctor’s visits and medication for a chance to cruise in high-end or one-of-a-kind cars. Along with car rides, JoyRide kids enjoy a chance to make new friends, network and build a sense of belonging.
Blair Cornell, founder of JoyRide, explained, “It was two years ago when the idea of JoyRide came to me on a summer night. I was driving Carter around in an effort to try and calm him down, which turned out to be the best medicine anyone could’ve prescribed. I’m amazed at how well the idea has been embraced by so many.”
The 2018 event attracted almost 900 cars to Austin Landing and they hope this year’s event does the same. The JoyRide starts at 11 a.m., just as the DC&C ends.
Dayton Cars and Coffee also holds a special event on the Saturday before the Dayton Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Park. Cars gather in front of the Carillon Brewing Co. starting at 8 a.m. and they usually spill out onto the lawn in front of the carillon. As with all other Dayton Cars and Coffee, there is no charge and you drive anything you want.
“From five thousand bucks to $5 million, we’ve had them all,” Brightman said. “That’s the whole point – everyone is welcome.”
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