Chairs cluttered the New Belgium Brewery parking lot, blankets filled the lawn and about 1,000 people lined up to purchase beer at the bike-in cinema last night to honor a CSU staff member who was killed in July when she was hit by car on her bike.
The special benefit showing of the Coen brothers’ classic, “The Big Lebowski,” celebrated the life of Rebecca Allen, an avid cyclist and former undergraduate program adviser for the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication.
Daniel Price, 20, of FortCollins, hit Allen when she was riding her bike on July 22. Alcohol was involved in the accident.
The annual bike-in cinema event is put on by New Belgium and shows six films throughout the summer. Participants bike to the brewery to watch a movie in the parking lot while enjoying beer and food from vendors such as Cheba Hut and Pizza Gyro.
The seventh showing was added after a close friend of Allen’s contacted New Belgium and suggested the benefit event as the annual bike-in already featured some of Allen’s favorite activities: bicycling, watching movies and visiting the New Belgium Brewery.
“One of our co-workers was good friends with Rebecca, and we are all cyclists in the community, so this was tragic and it hits close to home,” said Bryan Simpson, media relations director for New Belgium Brewery. “We spoke with friends and family members who agreed Rebecca would appreciate it, and ‘The Big Lebowski’ was one of her favorite films.”
New Belgium donated the space, movie rental and projection system for the event and all proceeds from beer sales benefited the Rebecca Allen Memorial Scholarship. Ticket proceeds will go to an undetermined cycling advocacy program in honor of Allen.
Before the movie, a slide show featuring photographs of Allen cycled, and Summit Studios, in collaboration with FCBikes, revealed a new campaign, Coexist, which aims to inform people of Fort Collins about sharing the road with cyclists. Allie Camaeu, a close friend of Allen’s, also gave a speech before the film. She informed the audience about Allen and urged people to drive responsibly.
“Don’t take things for granted, and please don’t drink and drive: life is just too precious,” Camaeu said in her speech.
Although some people were unaware they were attending a benefit showing, Simpson hoped attendees would get “a sense of who Rebecca was and how she continues to influence our lives.”
“Also, a certain awareness that life is fragile – we come through here once,” Simpson said. “Be good to each other and take care of one another out there on the roads.”
Staff writer Kayla Huddleston can be reached at email@example.com.