Custom cars take over Empire Center parking lot

A loud but peaceful crowd flooded the Empire Center parking lot with vehicles Tuesday night for the impromptu "Krispy Kreme" meet, drawing more than 3,000 people and roughly 1,000 cars.

"I've seen families out here with their kids looking at the cars," Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said at 8:30 p.m. No arrests had been reported and crowds were expected to thin out, he added.

PHOTOS: Youth car enthusiasts converge on Burbank's Empire Center 

Earlier in the evening, police closed the parking lot to cars, shut down surrounding streets due to traffic congestion and warned motorists to avoid the area.

Roughly 25 officers from Burbank, Glendale and San Marino patrolled the area Tuesday, in part to minimize the traffic snarls that accompanied a similar meet in November 2012.

The event organizer, a Burbank native who declined to be identified, said Tuesday's "Krispy Kreme" meet would be the last of its kind. The event, organized through social media, is not affiliated with the doughnut chain.

Zach Lamb, 31, of San Bernardino, arrived in Burbank at 3 p.m. to secure a parking spot in front of Krispy Kreme. At the November meet, Lamb said it took him four hours just to get off the freeway.

Even so, he returned because he enjoys exchanging ideas with other car enthusiasts, he said.

"We're not here to cause a problem, do burn outs or cause a scene, we're just here to relax and see all the cars," Lamb said.

Many were drawn to the meet because of the wide spectrum of cars it attracts. 

"You see low riders here, you see classic cars here, you see imports, you see domestics," said 35-year-old Alhambra resident Danny Meijer. "Southern California has a car culture that you can't find in any other city … because our personalities are reflected in our cars more in Los Angeles than any other city."

That's true for Chris Cazun, who arrived in a lime-green 1969 Subaru van, which he picked up a year ago in Idaho. And for Juan Esqueda, 25, who brought his bright yellow 2006 Altima, which he fixed up with custom features to the tune of $30,000. 

"We just share the joy and love of cars," said 21-year-old event-goer Chris Trimble. "We came out to share that experience with other people."


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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