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Merchants invited to decorate shop windows with an eye to Tuesday’s big cycling event

Bike Auburn organizes a friendly little competition
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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As Auburn prepares to welcome cycling enthusiasts for the Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 Tuesday, there’s a role for everyone. For businesses, there’s a storefront-decorating contest. “(It’s a way) to show our community spirit, welcome the riders and welcome the fans,” said Elizabeth Sands, public relations, marketing and media director for the Bike Auburn Local Organizing Committee. “It’s also a way for our businesses to get some additional attention as part of Think Auburn First and shopping locally and a way to attract a new customer base.” Sands would like to make the most of playing host to an estimated 30,000 visitors that day. “Let’s do our best to promote Auburn, our restaurants and those little places locals love, to help them get more exposure,” she said. All local businesses are welcome to enter the decorating contest. “Although the route is the primary concentration of our visitors, people are going to find all different areas of our community as they drive around and look around,” Sands said. The contest is very informal. There’s no application and there are no rules. “The more creative the better,” she said. But the decorations need to be in place in time for the judging on Friday, May 13. “A couple of Bike Auburn team members and a couple of city representatives will be the judges,” Sands explained. “We’re just going to be anonymously walking around Saturday morning to check out everything and see who’s doing what.” Businesses not along the race route that want to be included in the contest should e-mail Sands at BikeAuburn@yahoo.com to ensure they’re on the judging route. The winning business will be notified when judging team members arrive at 1 p.m. Friday with the prize — two free tickets to the Vino Velo Gala being held from noon to 5 p.m. at Winchester Country Club. The winner’s name also will be announced at the Gold Country Century Family Festival celebration at Recreation Park Saturday afternoon and will be posted to Facebook and Twitter. The goal is to fan enthusiasm for race day. “When you’re watching the Tour de France on TV and you see the riders going through those little towns, there are all kinds of cycling fanatics, great spirit, artwork on the windows and flags flying,” Sands said. “They really capture the spirit and energy of the race. I wanted to bring some of that to Auburn.” Storeowners can look to the three local bike shops — Victory Velo, Auburn Bike Works and Bicycle Emporium — for suggestions and decorating ideas. The bike shops aren’t eligible for the prize, she said. Once in place, Sands would like to see the decorations stay up for the next couple of weeks in celebration of May as bike month. In Downtown Auburn Monday, Roper’s Jewelers’ window display recreates a Tour de France scene in miniature from years gone by. At the front of one window, a line of cyclists, with team cars hauling extra bikes, heads toward a finish line as a photographer on a motorcycle awaits on the other side. Behind the racing scene are full-size pieces of cycling equipment. Store employee Royce Birks created the display, with helpful tips from other staff members. “It was (storeowner) Harvey Roper’s idea,” Birks said. “He loves the idea of Amgen and the importance of what it is doing for the town and community. Everything in the windows belongs to merchants in town. The names are there in the windows giving them credit.” The display of miniatures came from Dan Tebbs, owner of Victory Velo. “That’s part of his own private collection of beautiful metal riders that he has collected through the years,” she said. Books of the Tour de France as well as a photo of Lance Armstrong also came from Tebbs’ memorabilia. Auburn Bike Works also donated items for the display. “The bike shops were so gracious to let me walk through and choose items and they explained (the quality and importance) of each item,” Birks said. Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ------------------------------- to learn more For Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 Auburn activities and schedule, visit BikeAuburn.com. For more on the storefront decorating contest, e-mail BikeAuburn@yahoo.com or call (530) 320-8957.