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Large crowd bids farewell to Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show in Solvang – Santa Maria Times

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Spectators and cars fill Copenhagen Drive during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
Spectators look at a 1960 Messerschmitt KR200 owned by Ken Dally of Santa Maria during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
Many spectators wore event T-shirts from other car shows Saturday during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show in Solvang.
The hood ornament on a 1934 Ford Roadster shown by Hank Baier of Paso Robles shines in the sun Saturday during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show in Solvang.
Don Wagner of Clovis polishes his 1965 Chevy Chevelle during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
Spectators and cars fill Copenhagen Drive during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
Many spectators wore event T-shirts from other car shows Saturday during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show in Solvang.
The hood ornament on a 1934 Ford Roadster shown by Hank Baier of Paso Robles shines in the sun Saturday during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show in Solvang.
Don Wagner of Clovis polishes his 1965 Chevy Chevelle during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
A crowd estimated at more than 5,000 people packed Copenhagen Drive and surrounding streets Saturday to mingle with some 300 classic, custom and antique vehicles and to say goodbye to the Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show.
Current Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Committee President Bob Stokes was unable to provide any information about 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 the chance to show off their prized possessions and talk about them with interested spectators.
The show focuses on American iron, featuring local residents’ cars on its posters and T-shirts, but other than vehicle age, the show doesn’t discriminate among marques, models, countries of origin or condition.
Cars on display have ranged from completely restored to unrestored, wildly to mildly customized, works in progress to rat rods, daily drivers to trailer queens and street cars to drag cars to track racers.
Over the years, entries have come from throughout the Western States, the East Coast, the Deep South and even some foreign countries.
Spectators look at a 1960 Messerschmitt KR200 owned by Ken Dally of Santa Maria during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
But in addition to a showcase of vehicles, Wheels ‘N’ Windmills has been a fundraiser for numerous charitable organizations.
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 owners’ entry fees and raffles for a V-8 engine and, more 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 core committee members — Dan Hoagland, vice president, and Ed Grand, treasurer — decided to make this their last car show so they can spend more time with families, work on personal projects, travel and just get some rest from the monthslong process of planning each show.
He said it had also gotten increasingly hard to recruit volunteers to help prepare for the shows, placing more of the load on the three core members.
The COVID-19 pandemic also took a toll on the car show, he said, forcing its cancellation in 2020, although a smaller version was held in late 2021 after the state began easing up on pandemic regulations.
Muscle cars share Copenhagen Drive with other classics during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
A vintage bicycle and truck were displayed during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
A 1956 Chevy Bel Air owned by Barney Mangold, of Camarillo, gleams in the sun during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
Rolls-Royce classic cars including a 1933 20/25, right, are parked on Copenhagen Drive in front of the Hamlet Square windmill during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
The front grill on a 1950 Studebaker shines during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
A 1972 Chevy Blazer owned by Kevin Eberle of Santa Ynez gets attention during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
A drive-in food tray decorates a 1956 Ford T-Bird owned by Mark Latner of Valencia at the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
A 1932 Ford Pickup is displayed during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
Vendors sell t-shirts and souvenirs during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
Judy Nobriga of Santa Ynez looks at a Triumph TR-6 during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
Spectators examine a 1961 MGA Roadster owned by Keith Raphael of Hacienda Heights, during the final “Wheels ‘N’ Windmills” car show Saturday in Solvang.
Spectators look at a 1960 Messerschmitt KR200 owned by Ken Dally of Santa Maria during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
Many spectators wore event T-shirts from other car shows Saturday during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show in Solvang.
The hood ornament on a 1934 Ford Roadster shown by Hank Baier of Paso Robles shines in the sun Saturday during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show in Solvang.
Don Wagner of Clovis polishes his 1965 Chevy Chevelle during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.
Spectators and cars fill Copenhagen Drive during the final Wheels ‘N’ Windmills Car Show on Saturday in Solvang.

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