By Raiza Giorgi
This year a new crop of charities are being supported by the Wheels ’n’ Windmills car show, and head organizer Bob Stokes says he is especially excited to see the episode of “My Classic Car” that filmed an episode on the local show.
“We are thrilled to have received this kind of exposure for the Wheels ’n’ Windmills, which only brings more attention to the charities we raise money for,” Stokes said.
The 19th annual Wheels ’n’ Windmills show took place on Saturday, Aug. 25, along Copenhagen Drive and several side streets in downtown Solvang and raised more than $20,000, according to initial figures.
“We are really hoping to surpass last year’s totals and we are thrilled to support the local charities which do such fantastic work in our community,” Stokes said.
Since 2005, the show has donated more than $298,000 to worthy causes.
Thousands of spectators gathered to see cars from the turn of the century to 1980, which was the cutoff year for entrants. Stokes said the show attracts upwards of 15,000 people and 300 cars — for which registration sells out in 10 days — as well as close to 40 car clubs that come to display some of their vehicles.
“A staff member told me that Dennis Gage (the host of ‘My Classic Car’) said he was blown away by the festivities and it will be hard to edit it down for time,” Stokes said.
Gage’s show is aired on the Velocity channel, and the episode shot in Solvang is expected to air in early 2019. Gage is also the producer of several motorcycle shows, including “Trippin’ on Two Wheels” and “Corbin’s Ride,” as well as the reality series “Texas Hardtails.”
A new beneficiary of the show’s fundraising this year is the SYV Aquatics Foundation, which is raising money to build an Olympic-size pool complex for students and the public at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.
Another local beneficiary is the Zaca Center Preschool, one of the few full-inclusion preschools in the county. There, children with special needs are fully immersed with their peers in learning and playing, while having access to support from physical and occupational therapists. Students get to spend a substantial portion of their day outdoors — exploring, experimenting and investigating their environment.
Alpha Pi is another charity receiving funding from the car show. The group organizes the annual Turkey Bingo event, which hasn’t changed much since the beginning more than 100 years ago. It still costs just a dime to play a game.
The car show is also donating to the Progeria Research Foundation, as it does every year.
The car show had its yearly “best of the best” competition, where cars that have won in prior years are all displayed next to each other. For a list of the results, go to www.wheelsnwindmills.com.
Money from the raffle of a V8 Crate engine and transmission is being donated to just Santa Ynez High this year rather than being divided among three schools.
For more information on the show and winners, go to www.wheelsnwindmills.com.