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Families welcome at free Colorado Springs bike-in theater event

July 14, 2017 Updated: July 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm
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An bicycling event along Colorado Springs' Legacy Loop. A Bike-In Live Theater event is planned from 3-7 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, at North Shooks Run Park.

What better way to highlight Colorado Springs bike trails and bring neighbors together than with an event that can only be reached by bike or on foot.

A free Bike-In Live Theater invites families, teens and adults on bikes to North Shooks Run Park from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday for fun, food and theater.

"The easiest way to get there is by bicycle, and we're encouraging families to pedal to the event, utilizing one of the many ways you can access the Legacy Loop," said Allen Beauchamp, education and encouragement chairman for the nonprofit Bike Colorado Springs.

The park has no vehicle parking and no power, so the entertainers must be self-sufficient, Beauchamp said.

Children can try his Mobile Music Project, a sound system powered by bicycle that provides karaoke-like entertainment and even pedal-powered slushies.

Activities include bike decorating, a children's bicycle parade, live music from about 4 to 5 p.m., and a show by Millibo Art Theatre players, including founder Jim Jackson, about 5:15 p.m. The Local food truck will sell refreshments, with proceeds benefiting SEEDS Community Cafe.

"There will be circus comedy, magic, juggling, giant bubbles and a unicycle act," Jackson said. "The show will be about an hour at most. We'll also have bubble play set up. It should be a fun evening for people to ride their bikes to."

The show will wrap up in plenty of time for even the littlest audience member to ride home while it's still light outside.

"We're big supporters of bicycling in the community, and this is a different kind of event that would showcase the neighborhood and the Legacy Loop," Jackson said. "At the theater, we loved the fact that people could ride their bikes here on a path and have an experience at the end of it. They have a place to ride to."

If you're in the audience, expect to participate in the show.

"It'll be a good time for the whole family," Jackson said. "We try to encourage people to bicycle over for the shows in the theater, but sometimes it's difficult, there's obstacles. So this will be a way for them to do it."

The Bike-In theater is one of several events funded by a $75,000 grant that Beauchamp secured from the Colorado Health Foundation, supporting activation of public spaces and community places along the Legacy Loop, a 10-mile path around downtown defined by the Pikes Peak Greenway on the west and south, the Shooks Run trail on the east, and the Rock Island Corridor to the north, according to the city.

The grant, funded through July 31, also was made possible by Bike Colorado Springs, the Trails and Open Space Coalition, Millibo Art Theatre and the Middle Shooks Run Neighborhood Association.

"The grant is focused on educating people both in the neighborhoods connecting the Legacy Loop and to the theater community on how well trail structure can connect communities easily and safely and in a beautiful way," Beauchamp said.

And the event is designed to call attention to the Legacy Loop, he said, speaking by phone from the seat of his bike.

"There are so many people that don't know that 90 percent of trails exist in places like Palmer Park and Shooks Run," he said. "There's very little signage and wayfinding."

More signs that direct people to trailheads, public restrooms and other points of interest are to be added in late summer as part of the city's master plan, Beauchamp said.

The best way to educate people about the Loop is to take them out on it - on a bike, of course.

"Our trails are just beautiful, and many times they are much more efficient than the roads," he said. "It's advantageous to be on a bicycle."

As for the Bike-In Theater Night, Beauchamp said, "We would love for adults to come (too). It's a chance for you to be very childlike."

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