The Country's Premiere Monthly Car Gathering: MN C&C
Cars and Coffee has become a common phrase in car culture to title monthly or weekly car meets across North America. These meets range in size from a couple buddies looking for an excuse to get out of the garage and interact over a cup of coffee, all the way up to large events worth dropping everything for and travelling to. MN Cars & Coffee™ has easily become the latter, with thousands of cars showing up on the first Saturday of the month from April to October. With moving to a new location earlier this year to accommodate the massive crowds, the event is slated to keep growing.
Tyler Christopherson and Luis Fraguada started MN C&C in 2008. The two set out to start a monthly car show that would be inclusive of all cars, all makes and models, now nine years later, and on their third location, they have one of the largest monthly car meets in the nation. I met up with Tyler at the Eurowerks ‘17 car show to discuss what makes their show a success.
Tyler and Luis set off to the car forums, yes, this was long enough ago that forums were still active, joining over 30 forums nationally to promote and spread word about their car show. Located at a local Caribou coffee shop the first show had 25 cars show up, which thrilled the duo. By their fourth show 200+ cars showed up which started to grab the attention of the property manager. Stores in the area loved hosting the event, suddenly a quiet Saturday morning turned into 200+ people wandering around and spending money in their stores. However, with the rapid growth of the event and new businesses moving in, the property manager told them to find a new location. Therefore, after only four events the car show was on the move.
At the same time Tyler and Luis were building one of the largest car shows in the state, Bruno Silikowski was opening Chanhassen AutoMotorPlex. A complex of private garage condominiums, the Chanhassen AutoMotorPlex was the space and draw MN C&C needed to continue to grow. Having been approached by the AutoMotorPlex earlier but not wanting to move the event out of the city as it was starting up, MN C&C took Bruno up on his offer after being forced to vacate the first location.
The event grew over seven years at Chanhassen as the AutoMotorPlex added more garages to their facility. This really brought something unique to these monthly free shows. You now had people travelling from across the state to attend and local garage owners opening their doors to the public showing off their dream garages filled with rare and expensive automobiles.
When asked about any behaviour problems over the years Tyler responded with “There is always going to be a guy, there’s always going to be someone each month to do something stupid like a burnout”. Tyler recalled a story of an older gentleman on a Boss Hoss motorcycle, one of those big bikes with a V8 in them, who decided to do a burnout and lost control. The motorcycle took off towards the crowd of spectators but the rider was able to gain control before crashing, albeit not before terrifying people standing in the crowd. They have become accustom to this behaviour over the years and try their best to put an end to it by banning known offenders and spending sponsor money on having a strong police presence.
April of 2017 brought on a completely new set of challenges for the MN C&C team. With the past successes of the event and word of mouth, everyone was excited to show up to the first show of the year. This excitement brought well over 1000 show cars and as many as 12,000 spectators. The City of Chanhassen said things needed to change in a hurry or the event had to leave. The massive crowds and limited space for show cars caused havoc on the streets of Chanhassen. For the event to return in May they would have to limit spectators to 2000 people and bus people to the show from nearby park and rides as well as pre-sell tickets to the event. The idea behind what started MN C&C was to be free and all-inclusive for the car community and that’s the way it was going to stay. For the second time the show outgrew its space and was forced to move.
While the idea of moving to a larger location was already in the works for the 2018 season, Tyler and Luis were forced to act quickly to find somewhere to host the event. They decided not to hold a show in May to give their team some time to work out logistics but came back bigger than ever in the new location, Canterbury Park. A horse racing track and event center, Canterbury was designed to hold large crowds of people and as such has one of the largest parking facilities around the Twin Cities. Since the move, the shows have grown substantially, now showing off between 3,000 and 3,500 show cars and bringing through over 20,000 spectators, by Canterbury’s best estimates. This event brings in a wild variety of cars. With sections for Exotic, Classic American, Modern American, Euro, Japanese and more there is something to please everyone that shows up. The move also allowed MN C&C to bring in ten food trucks to have on site and Canterbury has provided security and a beverage cart.
Along with MN C&C, Tyler has started the Kannonball Fun and KannonFALL Rally to raise money for his daughter’s school. The two annual rallies raise money for Northern Voices, a center for young children with hearing loss that enables students to communicate through the use of spoken language, and helps families prepare their children to reach their full potential. The KannonFALL Rally is being held on September 30th and next year’s Kannonball Fun Charity Rally 4.0 is being held on June 2nd. This year Tyler’s events were able to raise $26,000 for the center, allowing them to operate in the black for the first time in twenty years.
Tyler wouldn’t let slip what plans they have for next year but assured me there were some exciting things in the works that they have always wanted to do, and now that they have the space they are going to make them happen. To find out more about the Kannonball visit their website at https://www.kannonballfun.com/ and if you ever happen to be driving through Minneapolis on the first Saturday of the month make sure to make a well-deserved pit stop at MN Cars & Coffee.