Huge crowd bids farewell to Wheels ‘N’ Windmills car show in Solvang | Local News

A crowd estimated at more than 5,000 people filled Copenhagen Drive and surrounding streets Saturday to mingle with some 300 classic, custom and antique vehicles and say goodbye to the Wheels ‘N’ Windmills car show.

Current Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Committee President Bob Stokes was unable to provide any information on how this year’s show went.

But for 16 years, the car show has brought hundreds of pre-1991 cars, trucks and motorcycles to the streets of downtown Solvang, giving proud owners a chance to show off their prized possessions and talk about them with interested onlookers. .

The show focuses on American iron, featuring local people’s cars on its posters and t-shirts, but other than the age of the vehicle, the show doesn’t discriminate between makes, models, countries of origin or condition.

The cars on display have ranged from fully restored to unrestored, wild to lightly customized, works in progress for rat rods, daily drivers to trailer queens and street cars to drag cars to track racers.

Over the years, entries have come from all over the western states, the east coast, the deep south and even some foreign countries.

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Spectators look at a 1960 Messerschmitt KR200 owned by Ken Dally of Santa Maria during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills car show Saturday in Solvang.

But in addition to being a car show, Wheels ‘N’ Windmills has been a fundraiser for numerous charities.

Stokes said last week that after this year’s show, the event will have raised more than $400,000 for local nonprofit groups and educational programs through vehicle owner entry fees and raffles for a V-8 engine and, most recently, a custom automatic transmission each year. .

Proceeds from the raffle this year will support the automotive programs at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School and Santa Maria High School.

Stokes and his two top committee members—Dan Hoagland, vice president, and Ed Grand, treasurer—decided to make this their last car show so they could spend more time with families, work on personal projects , to travel and just take a break from the month-long process of planning each show.

He said it had become increasingly difficult to recruit volunteers to help prepare for the shows, putting more strain on the three core members.

The COVID-19 pandemic also had an impact on the car show, he said, forcing its cancellation in 2020, though a smaller version was held in late 2021 after the state began easing pandemic regulations.

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