ELLY GRIMM

    • Leader & Times

 

Summer will soon be in full swing, and Liberal’s Baker Arts Center is looking to help be part of the fun.

Baker Arts Center will be hosting an Electric Bike Ride Parade Saturday, June 1, with meetup happening from 7:30 to 8 p.m., and rideout being at 8:15 p.m. The ride is for fun, it’s open to the public, and Baker Arts Center Director Brittyn Heronemus said it should be a fun night for participants.

“The Electric Bike Ride is actually inspired by a similar event that’s done in Maui, and it’s really fun. The leader has a boombox on the front of his bike and an inflatable alien that rides on the back, and everyone decks out their bikes for the event,” Heronemus said. “We’re welcoming people to go out and find lights and other bright stuff to help deck out their bikes and be part of this ride. We will have some lights on sale here, but we definitely recommend decorating your bike beforehand so you can be part of our parade and contest, and we’ll have prizes for best decorations and most wild and things like that, so we encourage people to deck out their bikes as much as possible. Growing up in Liberal, there are always people who say there aren’t really very many events/activities for families that are free, and with some events, it can cost quite a bit to take the whole family to an event. This is a great way to get people to Baker Arts Center and meet some new people from the community. We’ll meet in the parking lot, and if you’re driving here and bringing your bike, staff is recommending to park in the west part of the parking lot or on 7th Street so we can keep the front portion open for the riders so everyone can get everything ready. The front portion of the parking lot off of Pershing Avenue will be blocked off for the safety of the participants as we get everything ready to go that evening, and then we’ll take off on a nice bike ride. We’ll go to Blue Bonnet Park and around, and depending on how big the group is, we might go a little farther. But this is truly meant to be fun, we’re not racing or anything, it’s just meant to be a nice, fun night for the family. There’s no need to sign up beforehand, it’s just a meetup here at the center. Just come, meet with everyone else and join in on the fun.”

Heronemus said she and her staff are always looking for ways to bring families to the center.

“We’re always bouncing ideas off of each other, and we have a board of people who we meet with and talk to. We started last year with the movie nights and did movie nights in our park where people could come and bring their families for free, and it was a nice way to get people to Baker Arts Center and show off some of what we do,” Heronemus said. “When we were thinking about this summer, we knew we wanted to keep that momentum going and build our calendar out, and we were thinking ‘What would be a fun way to get people out here who might not consider themselves artistic and get them involved in a creative and fun way?’ This event is creativity meets sports and fun, and of course we love to highlight our beautiful park and the rest of the neighborhood.”

With this being the first event of its kind for Baker Arts Center, Heronemus said she is excited to see how everything turns out.

“I’m really excited to see some new faces. Last year, we had our free Easter egg hunt, and that brought so many new people on our property, and it ended up being fantastic,” Heronemus said. “A lot of people say the Baker Arts Center is the best-kept secret in town, but I don’t want us to be a secret – spread the word and talk us up to people, because we want to meet/know as much of the community as possible! I’m excited to bring in newer faces who might not know what all we do here – we’re not just an art museum, we’re also big into education with our classes and play areas and our studio, which is open six days a week for people. I’m really excited to reach out to local families who might not yet have heard of us and bring them in and let them know what we’re all about. Like I said earlier, we were inspired by the event in Maui, so we saw that and thought it was super fun and cool and different, and we thought, why not bring it to Liberal? There’s no limit to being creative or civic engagement, and this event is another way to reach people who might not consider themselves as artists or creative people in the conventional sense. It’s all about connecting with the community.”

Heronemus added she hopes to see many community members participate.

“I would definitely recommend people come prepared – it’ll still be warm in the evenings, so bring water bottles and dress accordingly so you’re comfortable. And since this is a nighttime event, we also recommend wearing either a reflective vest or something similar in order to make yourself visible,” Heronemus said. “If you’re going to bring your little one(s), we recommend everyone is able to ride a bicycle successfully – if they still need training wheels, that is perfectly fine, but we want everyone to successfully ride the entire length of our route. If you have a little one who’s not up for that full ride, we will have a short ride just around the Baker Arts Center property, and then they’ll be able to play round in our park afterward. We will have staff around to monitor everyone and make sure everything is safe, and we’ll meet at the center after the ride and have some more fun.”

Overall, Heronemus said, she is excited not just for the upcoming ride, but for the rest of the summer as well.

“I’m sure we’ll have a good crowd of people show up. When we did our first movie night last year, we had a good crowd, so I’m looking forward to seeing how many people show up for this, especially since this event is different than what we’ve done before,” Heronemus said. “And besides one of the regular parades, this event is something that hasn’t really been seen in the area before, so I think that’ll be interesting to people as well. But my expectations are for people to come, have a blast, and get to know Baker Arts Center a little better. We also have several summer camps and classes going on throughout the summer as well, and if anyone is interested in any of that, they’re more than welcome to get in touch with me via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (620) 624-2810, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions. If the Electric Bike Ride isn’t for you, I guarantee we’ll have something going on this summer that will interest you.”

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