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TV Host of ‘My Classic Car’ to Visit Historic Bellefonte Cruise

This story originally appeared in the Centre County Gazette.

The Historic Bellefonte Cruise will return for its 35th year since its inception on Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15. This year, one famous face will be mixed among the car show visitors. If his handlebar mustache isn’t enough of a clue to who he is, his television show, “My Classic Car with Dennis Gage,” sure is.

The series, which features car shows, hobbyist personal collections and unique cars across the country and around the world, debuted on TNN in 1997 after a successful pilot was shown in 1996. The show would later move to the SPEED channel in 2000 and become one of the highest rated shows on the network. Since then, Gage has shown his viewers collectible cars over 28 seasons and will now be bringing his love of classic cars to Centre County.

Gage, who has a background in physics and chemistry, receiving a doctorate in the latter, began playing with car mechanics at an early age.

“I’m a child of the ’60s, and most people of my generation are car people because we were marketed to,” Gage said, explaining how the big three automakers, after historically advertising their cars to the male head of the household, were looking for a new consumer segment to market to. Gage shared how the youth of the time became the new market, with brands selling the appeal of muscle cars.

“I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, where we only had three TV channels and didn’t have a lot of magazine subscriptions,” Gage said. “The TV was the main source of information and that’s where they really pitched the idea of these cars to kids.”

That advertising helped expand that market, Gage explained, sharing, “If you weren’t paying attention to cars, I don’t know what you were paying attention to because there wasn’t a lot else.”

And for Gage, it led him to finding a hobby he, like many others, wouldn’t grow tired of.

“Personal transportation is extremely important in North America, because, unlike Europe that is so old and has the rail system, we rely on our own transportation. It’s so woven into the fabric of our lives,” Gage explained while talking about the nostalgia that surrounds vintage cars. “These cars also became a symbol of American ingenuity, wealth and pride. … And people have memories attached to them. It’s always this right brained, emotional thing.”

Throughout his journey of learning about classic cars and filming “My Classic Car,” Gage has heard a lot of personal stories connected to specific makes and models. His next journey will include making his way over to Centre County for the Bellefonte Cruise.

The Historic Bellefonte Cruise is an annual event held in Bellefonte, celebrating classic and antique cars. The event draws car enthusiasts from various regions, showcasing a diverse range of vintage vehicles on display throughout the downtown Bellefonte area. In addition to the car show, the event features live music, food vendors, family-friendly activities and an open cruise, where the owners of the classic cars parade their vehicles through the streets of Bellefonte.

“For the Bellefonte Cruise, I really like the venue, how it is set in a small-town America. It’s picturesque. I don’t do many parking lot shows anymore. It’s not very interesting. I like Americana in general, and that’s a big piece of the Bellefonte Cruise,” Gage shared. “As we film, I just try and bring everybody along with me so they can experience the show for themselves as viewers. So we will film some b-roll of the area and the show and I’ll pick out five cars that strike my fancy.”

And for those car collectors attending the show hoping to get noticed by Gage, he has a particular interest in “oddball, off-the-beaten-path cars, cars that are forgotten or often overlooked.” Though Gage won’t be using any pre-registration information to determine what cars may stand out to him,

“I’ll know it when I see it. I’ve been doing this for 30 years; we’re now shooting our 29th season. I’m looking for something you don’t see every day. And I’ll find it,” Gage said. “You go to these things, and you see works of arts, genius design, and you gain an appreciation for them in that way.”

And Gage’s appreciation for classic cars is clear. After all, his favorite car is “one with four wheels and an internal combustion engine.”

“I am an inherently inquisitive person. I’m an inherently observant person. There is something in almost every car that I can find fascinating.”

More information on the Bellefonte Cruise can be found in The Centre County Gazette’s special Bellefonte Cruise guide included in The Gazette’s June 6-12 newspaper edition.