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Community members ‘dress up’ Auburn for Amgen

Spruced-up city is ready for tour
By: Bridget Jones Journal staff writer
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Auburn is sprucing itself up for the Amgen Tour of California. The cycling race will be passing through Auburn May 16, and community members are thrilled to host part of an event that will put Auburn on the map. “It’s an incredible gift,” said Linda Robinson of Sun River Clothing Company in Old Town Auburn. “We have created an opportunity out of it. The crescendo is building to these big moments that we’re all going to be experiencing.” Robinson said businesses in Old Town are sprucing up flower barrels and decorating windows in support of the race. Three sets of bleachers are being erected as well as a balloon trail that will welcome cyclists as they ride down Lincoln Way and turn onto Sacramento Street. Businesses throughout Downtown and Old Town have removed their promotional banners, and some merchants are taking the opportunity to give their stores themes inspired by the race. “We have bicycle parts as our display units in our cases,” said Linda Pierce of Sierra Moon Goldsmiths. “We’ve had quite a few comments on it. We actually made some bicycle jewelry for the event. We felt it was important because it is a huge community event we want to support.” In addition to individual stores doing their parts, the Downtown Business Association also funded the design of 20 banners welcoming Amgen. Twenty-five additional banners welcome visitors to Downtown Auburn, inform that Auburn is the Endurance Capital of the World, and promote Auburn Cruise Nite. Harvey Roper, past president of the Downtown Business Association, said the community was thrilled when it was announced in February that Amgen would be riding through Auburn. “We wanted to embrace that opportunity, and we got them to take their race right through our business district,” Roper said. Mayor Bridget Powers said dressing up the city and promoting the event is a great way to bring more attention to Auburn. “We want to draw people to this event,” Powers said. “This is a world-wide televised event and they’re coming through Auburn. We want people to get curious and come visit us.” Jim Bril, president of the Downtown Business Association, said this is a perfect event for businesses looking to attract more customers. “We still expect several thousand on the street, so anyone with a business, if they’re not open that day, would be silly,” Bril said. Auburn could become a reoccurring stop on the Amgen tour with the positive impression it’s making, Roper said. “If we have their attention, they may consider us to be a stage stop in the future,” he said.