New Belgium’s Tour de Fat
Combine the likes of vaudeville carnival acts with an earth-loving brewing company and you’re likely to have stumbled upon New Belgium’s annual Tour de Fat. Currently making their way through their 12th tour across country, Tour de Fat aims to promote earth sustainability with a throwback to the age when countries were not feuding over oil.
The festival typically begins around 10am with a parade of bikes circulating around the event center. What’s that you say? You’re no Lance Armstrong? Well, there’s only one of him anyway, and the folks at New Belgium respect that. The ride is designed for all ages and skill levels so don’t worry about training years in advance. As it is a parade, participants are encouraged to dress up as whoever or whatever they would like to be for the day, think Halloween in summer. Those wishing to join in on the ride are encouraged to arrive early for registration.
The biking parade is only the beginning of the festival, so even if you choose not to get up early enough to join, events continue throughout the day with several unique musical and theatrical performances, and of course, a New Belgium beer tasting. Performances by groups such as the Squirm Burpee Circus, the Daredevil Chicken Club, and Mucca Pazza will bring you to a time before your time of the vaudeville performance age. Performances vary based on location, but each promises to deliver quality, obscure entertainment.
Scattered amongst the event location are simple toys requiring neither batteries nor electrical outlets, but rather the good old-fashioned use of manpower. Take a spin in what appears to be an old dentists’ chair (don’t worry, the dentist is on vacation), or supply your own air conditioning with the stationary bike and fan combination. Be sure to check out what could be the country’s one and only karaoke bar located in a solar-powered port-a-potty. Yes, that’s right, you can karaoke in a port-a-potty, which the locals refer to as “portaoke.” Don’t worry, the john has been replaced by a stage big enough to spotlight you and your friends!
The Wheel Deal
At each of the tour’s 13 stops, one lucky participant will have the opportunity to win their very own fat tire bicycle; you know, the big shiny red one with tires wide enough to ignore any pebbles or small rodents you may roll over in your journeys. But winning this hot ticket item isn’t as simple as dropping your name into a hat and crossing your fingers for luck. New Belgium asks that you trade in your four-wheeled, gas-guzzling vehicle for this two-wheeled, man-powered machine. To make sure the winner is as good as he claims his word to be, they must present the keys and documents during the awards ceremony. In addition, the winners will essentially have their own reality TV segment as New Belgium commits to filming their life experiences sans automobile.
Giving Back to the Community
While Tour de Fat is a completely free event, there are several opportunities for guests to give back to their own community. In each city, New Belgium takes the proceeds from beer sales and any donations from the bike parade and gives back to local, bike-minded organizations.
2011 Tour Stops
The 2011 Tour de Fat is just beginning and has stops running through October. Be sure to check out the New Belgium website for more information and to find details on a stop near you.
Durham, NC- 6/25, Nashville, TN- 7/9, Chicago, IL- 7/16, Minneapolis, MN- 7/23, Milwaukee, WI- 7/30, Boise, ID- 8/20, Ft. Collins, CO- 9/3, Denver, CO- 9/10, San Francisco, CA- 9/24, San Diego, CA- 10/1, Los Angeles, CA- 10/8, Tempe, AZ- 10/15,
Austin, TX- 10/22
Tour de Fat Links