published Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Stars and cars at World of Wheels

Visitors look at cars during a previous World of Wheels auto show at the Chattanooga Convention Center in this file photo.
Visitors look at cars during a previous World of Wheels auto show at the Chattanooga Convention Center in this file photo.
IF YOU GO

What: O'Reilly World of Wheels

When: 5-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, noon-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St.

Admission: $15 adults ($13 in advance at O'Reilly Auto Parts stores), $5 children 6-11

Website: www.worldofwheels.net

GIVEAWAYS

ATV: Register to win a Polaris Scrambler 500.

Hot Wheels: The first 200 kids through the door each day receive a free Hot Wheels car to race on a drag track.

These are happy days for Henry Winkler. Perhaps best known to the world as Arthur Fonzarelli on "Happy Days," he is currently starring in at least three television shows, has a recent movie with Kevin James out ("Here Comes the Boom") and is writing his 23rd children's novel.

On Sunday, he will be in California to celebrate an important family birthday.

"On Friday and Saturday, I will be in Chattanooga at the car show, but I have to be home Sunday for my grandson's first birthday," he says. "I can't miss that, but it means leaving Chattanooga earlier than I'd planned."

Winkler will be one of the guest celebrities at the 45th annual Chattanooga O'Reilly World of Wheels at the Chattanooga Convention Center, set for Friday, Jan. 11, through Sunday, Jan. 13.

The 2013 version of WOW will include guest appearances by The Fonz and reality stars Mountain Man from "Duck Dynasty" and Danielle Colby-Cushman from "American Pickers."

Also on hand will be Avan Jogia, who plays Beck on the hit Nickelodeon show "Victorious," and Tim Strange, host and lead builder on Spike TV's "Search & Restore."

Winkler says he has always been a happy, positive person, but even he appreciates the many opportunities he currently has.

"To tell you the truth, I'm a very lucky guy, in the true sense of the word. I get to do 'Arrested Development,' which we just shot for next spring. I get to do 'Royal Pains,' and I get to do the craziest show called 'Children's Hospital,' which won an Emmy last year for Best Short Form Comedy."

The only negative in his career recently was that Hurricane Sandy cut short the run of "The Performers," his third Broadway production.

"It opened and closed too quickly, but in the big picture, I have nothing to complain about as some people lost everything."

Winkler's book character, Hank Zipzer, is celebrating his 10th anniversary, and the series about the world's greatest underachiever, based on Winkler's early struggles with dyslexia, earned the author induction into the Order of the British Empire in 2011.

"I am a happy guy," he says. "I get to do these shows, and this weekend I get to meet all these people in Chattanooga who I would never meet otherwise, and they are the people that watch these shows. It's just great."

CELEBRITY APPEARANCES

• Tim Strange: Host and lead builder on Spike TV's "Search & Restore."

• Von Hot Rod: The internationally known West Coat pinstriper known as "The Master of the Fine Line."

• World of Wheels Pinup Girls: Contest winners Danielle, Laura and Nadia.

• High Rollers BMX Team: Performing midair acrobatics and stunts.

• Star Wars characters: Including Darth Vader and the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers, along with characters from MidSouth Garrison's MosNooga Squad.

• SpongeBob SquarePants: The famous cartoon character from Bikini Bottom.

Designated dates

• Danielle Colby-Cushman: History channel's "American Pickers" star will be available 5:30-9 p.m. Friday.

• Henry Winkler: The star of "Happy Days," "The Waterboy," "Royal Pains" and "Arrested Development" will greet fans all day Friday and Saturday (fee for autographs).

• Avan Jogia: Beck from the Nickelodeon show "Victorious" will be available 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturday.

• Tim "Mountain Man" Guraedy: A&E's "Duck Dynasty" star will be featured 12:30-5 p.m. Sunday.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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