By Raiza Giorgi

Solvang is widely known for its Danish bakeries and world-class wineries, but car enthusiast Bob Stokes hopes it will soon be known for its vehicles.

The organizer of the annual Wheels ’n’ Windmills car show is thrilled that this year’s event Aug. 25 will be taped for the television show “My Classic Car.”

“Our committee has been hoping for an opportunity like this since we started, and having Dennis come to film is exciting. He has such an interesting background, and we are honored he chose our event to feature on his show,” Stokes said.

Dennis Gage is the host of “My Classic Car,” which premiered in 1997 and is now shown on the Velocity channel. 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.”

“Millions of people watch Dennis’ programs, and I am looking forward to how we can get more people to Solvang so we can earn more for our local charities,” Stokes said.

The 19th annual Wheels ’n’ Windmills show will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, along Copenhagen Drive and several side streets in downtown Solvang.

Gage grew up on a small farm, working on machines at an early age. In college he was a chemistry and physics major. He also is an accomplished musician who played steel guitar and opened for legendary musicians Charlie Daniels and Waylon Jennings.

He left his career in music to go back to school, earning his Ph.D. in chemistry, and went to work for Proctor and Gamble, patenting Pringles potato chips, and then working for Bristol-Myers in developing the energy drink Boost.

Stokes says the most important thing his committee does is to attract as many spectators as possible to the show to raise as much money as possible for the charities that the show supports.

Wheels ’n’ Windmills also supports several high school automotive programs. Money from the raffle of a V8 Crate engine and transmission is donated each year to Santa Ynez, Santa Maria and Lompoc high schools to help these programs continue to thrive and to encourage students to get involved in working with cars. Last year more than $15,000 was donated to the auto shop programs at those schools.

Last year the car show also donated $5,000 to the arts and music programs at Solvang School, and along with the Vikings of Solvang donated a van to the Solvang Senior Center.

Stokes said the show attracts upwards of 15,000 people and 300 cars — for which registration sold out in 10 days — as well as close to 40 car clubs that come to display some of their vehicles. The cutoff year for cars displayed is 1980, so nothing newer than that will be displayed.

The car show has a yearly “best of the best” competition, where cars that have won in years past are all displayed next to each other. There is also a competition for each of the 34 car classes in the show, such as muscle, sport, and truck. Judges are not affiliated with the event or with any club.

The show will also include booths from local vendors and merchants, raffle prizes, the V-8 engine raffle, music and more.

For more information on the Wheels ’n’ Windmills, go to