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2nd Annual Tour De Lopez

 - Poster by Christa Malay
— image credit: Poster by Christa Malay

Tour De Lopez, last spring's successful bike tour of Lopez Island, is returning for a second run, this time as part of a bustling three days of Lopez happenings.

The Lopez Island Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 2nd Annual Tour De Lopez on Saturday, April 23. Community events and packaged specials will be offered Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 22-24, in the hope of attracting visitors for a longer stay and that everyone--restaurants, shops, and accommodations--will have a busy weekend.

The ride is a non-competitive road tour with 10- and 26-mile routes through Lopez. The tour is open to bicycle clubs and individuals of all ages. Check-in will be from 9:30-11am at Odlin County Park, a .5-mile ride from the Lopez Ferry landing. Participants can pick up their route maps, lunch voucher, and details about the day's ride. The tour routes will include marked designated halfway points with snacks, water, and restrooms available. Volunteers will be at the rest areas and circulating along the routes to provide assistance.

The Port Stanley School is the first rest area, and will feature an art show with work from 23 members of the Lopez Artist Guild. The second rest stop will be at Agate Beach. The ride will conclude in the Village Park, next to Lopez Village Market, with a BBQ lunch presented by the Bay Café from 1-3pm for bicyclists as well as locals. Washington State Ferries is offering a special rate April 22-23 through the 8:50am sailing for Tour De Lopez participants coming from Anacortes. Fare for a rider and a bicycle will be $8 (usually $11.50) and the over-height surcharge for bikes on roof racks will be $10 (usually $27.50). Ferry goers can prove registration with a card that is included in the confirmation packets. It is important to note that there are 1100 free parking spaces at the Anacortes terminal.

Becky Smith, who organized this year's Tour De Lopez with Daren Holscher, said that "bicycle clubs from all over" have been signing up. Smith has been receiving calls "all year long" about Tour De Lopez, and she thinks that word has been spreading. Like last year, Holscher and Smith have been advertising in western Washington newspapers and sending information packets to bicycle clubs and shops across Washington and into Oregon, Canada, and Idaho. There are currently 40 registrants, some from California, New York, and Missouri. The tour drew close to 400 last year, and the Chamber is expecting 500 this time around. The maximum number has been set at 600.

While Tour De Lopez does generate funds for the Chamber--the money it brings in covers operation of the Chamber office in Lopez Village--the purpose of the event is to introduce Lopez to visitors and "encourage people to come back and take advantage of what is here," said Smith. Confirmation packets with tips on where to go and what to see are sent to participants after they register. During the BBQ there will be tables with business cards and flyers from local businesses for the bicyclists to peruse. Smith said a goal this year is for businesses to be as accommodating as possible to the bicyclists. As most will only be on bikes, Smith hopes shops will consider alternate ways to send purchases home to them, such as shipping items.

This year, the road signs will be hard to miss. Smith has collected 18 bikes from the Lopez Transfer Station and other locations, and arranged for the Lopez School art class to paint them vivid colors. The Chamber plans to use them every year as signs along the routes.

Christa Malay, a well-known Lopez artist, has designed original artwork for the event, and her work has been incorporated into commemorative posters and t-shirts that will be available for sale.

Pre-registration fees are $20 adults (includes lunch), $15 children 12 & under (incl udes lunch) and $50 per family (2 adults 2 kids, lunch included). Fees for the day of the event will be $25 adults, $20 children, & $70 family. $10 for lunch only. The Lopez Island Chamber of Commerce Web site, www.lopezisland.com, has ride details, online registration forms, information on other weekend events and specials, and accommodations and camping options. You can also call 1-877-433-2789 or (360) 468-4664.

Sponsors of the event are the Bay Café, Lopez Islander Marina & Resort, Lopez Village Market, North Cascade Cardiology, and The Cardiovascular Center, St. Joseph Hospital.

Locals are encouraged to attend the BBQ and all other activities during the weekend. The schedule for the three days is as follows:

Friday, April 22

7:30pm Paraclete Charter Service will pick up bicyclists in Anacortes at Skyline Marina, deliver them to the Lopez Islander Dock, and bring people back on Sunday, 2pm. Package includes 2-night stay at Islander. $249 for two people. Call 468-2233 for reservations.

5-9pm Art preview, wine tasting, and finger foods at Port Stanley Schoolhouse. Sponsored by Lopez Artist Guild, Lopez Island Vineyards, and Vita's--Wildly Delicious. Work by local artists will be displayed throughout the weekend. Opening reception Friday night, featuring Lopez Island Vineyard wine and food by Vita's.

9pm Live Music and dancing at the Lopez Islander Resort with "Temporary Moorage."

Saturday, April 23

8am Enjoy a special breakfast at the Galley Restaurant.

9:30-11am Tour De Lopez check-in at Odlin County Park.

1-3pm BBQ lunch by the Bay Café in Village Park.

4pm Shoreline Cruise and Dinner package at the Lopez Islander. Depart the Lopez Islander dock with Paraclete Charter Service at 4pm for a scenic cruise around Lopez Island. Wine available on-board by Lopez Island Vineyards. Arrive back at 6pm for dinner at the Lopez Islander Waterfront Restaurant. $50/person. Call for reservations, (360) 468-2233.

6pm Sunset Cruise and Dinner package at The Bay Café. Depart the Islander dock with Paraclete Charter Services at 6:15pm for a 2-hour sunset cruise. Wine by Lopez Island Vineyards and appetizers by The Bay Café available on-board. Arrive back at 8:15pm for dinner at The Bay Café. $65/person. Call for reservations, (360) 468-3700.

8-11pm "A Night of Rock and Roll" at Woodmen Hall. Glenn Maloy, DJ of Sound Entertainment Services, Inc., will DJ an evening of old-fashioned rock and roll. Sponsored by the Lopez Senior Center, this dance is open to people of any age. $5/person, to benefit the rehabilitation of Woodmen Hall. The Lopez Senior Center is offering to take those attending to the last ferry of the night in its bus.

9-midnight Live music and dancing with "Temporary Moorage" at the Lopez Islander Resort

Sunday April 24th

9-1pm Annual Lopez Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. Enjoy a pancake breakfast with all the trimmings at the Lopez School Multi-Purpose Room. $4 single or $8.50 family.

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