Annual bicycles delight community

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023

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It’s the time of year again that brightly colored bicycles with baskets full of colorful flowers are appearing all over town to promote the Greenville Area Arts Council’s (GAAC) 41st Ritz Theatre Season. The effort that originally began as promotion, has turned into a town delight and community members enjoy the pleasant aesthetic the bicycles and flowers create. 

Some of these admirers include the senior residents from Country Place Senior Living, where one of the bicycles is on display. The center’s administrator, Alaina Norman, said the decorated bicycle has delighted the senior residents.

“Our residents really enjoy it,” Norman said. “It’s something different for them to see. They enjoy the brightness, the colors and they are delighted that they are being included in something within the community, as they are used to not being included in much. I just love that Nancy Idland takes her time to do things like this for the town and our senior residents, it warms my heart and brings joy to the seniors.”

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Nancy Idland, director of GAAC, said the idea for the colorful bicycles began several years ago as an affordable, creative visual that could hold a placard reading, “See you at the Ritz”. Idland also felt the bicycles were a good way to encourage bicyclists in the community. 

“The thought was, ‘We want to see you at the Ritz, whether you drive your car or ride your bike,’” Idland said. “You don’t see very many people riding bikes like we used to in Greenville. I wish we could get people riding bikes again, so I thought this might be a good opportunity and way to encourage people to do so.”

Idland and her husband, Ronnie, repaint and prepare the bicycles every year and the City of Greenville now stores and distributes the displays. The local Walmart voluntarily donated dozens of silk bouquet flowers this year for the bicycle restorations.

“It’s just delightful that the community has come to enjoy them so much,” Idland said. “I’m proud of it.”

According to Idland, the Ritz Season passes and tickets could sell out before the first show if sales continue climbing. She encouraged residents interested in attending shows to visit to purchase season passes.

The performances include: “The Return – Beatles Tribute Show” on October 12, “Sean of the South – story teller and musician” on Nov. 16, “The Heart Behind the Music – Songwriters Showcase” featuring John Ford Coley, Lenny LeBlanc and Marty Raybon on Jan. 18, and “Chi Town – Transit Authority” on Feb. 22.