Shake Shack Hosts Westport Cinema’s n’Oscars Party
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Westport, CT – Shake Shack rolled out the red carpet Sunday afternoon to local movie fans with an Academy Awards pre-party at the eatery’s 1849 Post Road East site. The occasion spotlighted Westport Cinema Initiative’s efforts to establish a local movie house while entertaining local residents.
Dubbed the n’Oscars (not the Oscars), the event featured movie critic Susan Granger and WEBE 108 radio’s Stormin’ Norman as emcees conducting a trivia contest about Westport actor and film lore. Gold-colored balloons and Oscar standees enhanced the environment, while student volunteers from Staples High School distributed Disney posters to patrons. Aligning with the 84th Annual Hollywood ceremony, the first 84 guests to attend the event also received “Non-Swag Bags” with area retail offers, and had the opportunity to fill out ballots guessing at Oscar winners in all the major award categories.
“We wanted to do an Oscars celebration and, with Westport being a little irreverent, we thought we’d do a pop-up event,” said Marcy Juran, on WCI’s marketing committee. “Shake Shack loved the idea and created a Red Velvet Carpet Concrete (frozen custard concoction) for the occasion.”
The WCI has made good forward progress indicated State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, who is also president of the WCI’s board. “Next month is the one-year anniversary since we started screening films,” he said. “We’ve built a great group of talented volunteers and the next great milestone is to find a permanent site for a theater. We’ve identified potential spots in downtown and once we decide on a spot, we will kick off with a fundraiser and get design plans approved by Planning & Zoning. The commissioners have expressed their general support.”
Granger thought the n’Oscars event was a fun run-up to the popular Awards night. “Everyone goes to the movies and Shake Shack is an ‘in’ place,” she said.
Shake Shack manager Dave Yearwood was glad to offer the event site. “It’s important to me to be involved in the community in which we are doing business,” he said. “We’re happy to give WCI a platform for their cause.”
While formal attire was not required at the event, two WCI volunteers donned black tie ensembles. Even patrons got into the act – Westporter “Sooo-z” Mastropietro wore movie clapper earrings, a necklace with an Oscar dangling from it and long red dress. “I wanted to have a little fun with the event, so came as a red carpet,” she said.
Others, like Pertrinea Cash, from Bridgeport, dressed elegantly, while speculating about Oscar winners. “I think the best picture is ‘The Help’”, she said. “I was watching the previews last night. It got high ratings, and won the Screen Actors Guild award. It was also the highest revenue earner. I would say ‘Iron Lady’ is a close second. I’m a fan of the ceremony and red carpet festivities. It’s fun for the Shake Shack to offer this family-oriented event.”