It was pretty hard to find a parking spot on St. Armands Circle on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Yes, was a warm, sunny weekend, and yes, season is approaching, but there were quite a few more cars and people eager to behold them as the Exotic Car Festival, hosted by the Ferrari Drivers Group Sarasota, rolled into the Circle.
Cars from the past century spanned the inner park, which became a literal parking lot of Ferarris, Audis and other rare cars. Some drove their own cars in, while dealers and automotive groups brought in the cars they had on their lots for enthusiasts to ogle.
The newer cars drew a lot of eyes as they carefully backed out and drove around the Circle a few times, crawling slowly so everyone could take a peek, but the older cars stayed stationary. Many came up to the owners of the cars, who were stationed nearby in the shade, to ask about the history and details of the cars from the early 20th century.
An edition of the first car to drive cross country in 1903, Winton, was present, owned by the great-grandson of the manufacturer. Charles Wake drove his car across the country in 2003 to commemorate the journey his great grandfather made possible. The Winton is one of five old cars that Wake has collected over the years. Many were brought to the festival in a trailer, but his doesn’t fit, so Wake drove it himself.
“I figured if I’m going to collect old cars I should have a Winton,” Wake said.
The event benefitted "Flight to the North Pole" a local charity by the Manatee Sheriffs Office for ill children.