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'It's a little Bloomsday museum': Woman dresses runner statues in old finishers t-shirts

"I worked downtown at the time, and the excitement and hype around Bloomsday is something you don't really know or experience unless you're in it. So, I knew I wanted to be a part of that."

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Bloomsday statues in Riverfront Park just got outfitted in past Bloomsday t-shirts.

Since 1997, the statues have worn shirts on the days leading up to the run thanks to one Spokane woman.

"This is my way. I worked downtown at the time, and the excitement and hype around Bloomsday is something you don't really know or experience unless you're in it. So, I knew I wanted to be a part of that," said Lala Gerber, who dresses the statues every year. "I was dressing mannequins at the time, and this was my contribution. I was able to collect shirts from thrift stores that I worked at the time."

Now she's created a city tradition. Something not only she, but other people look forward to.

"It's a little Bloomsday museum for people. They walk through the runners and see the shirts from all over the past years. And they comment that, ‘Oh, I did that race,’ or ‘Oh, I had this one," Gerber said.

Today is just showtime. All throughout the year, she's working to make sure every statue is fitted for the race. Because reusing them isn't an option.

"I would like to, but they're not here. So every year I have to acquire forty something new t-shirts so I can continue to do this every year," she said.

She finds them at thrift stores, or people drop off their old shirts to her.

She may not be running, but she's always a part of the race.

"This is my claim to fame. This is what I'll be doing, as long as I'm walking, or maybe even past that, who knows?"

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