It’s cool, New Belgium Brewing Co. We understand your excellent Tour de Fat can’t visit every city in the United States, but we humbly request next year that you consider visiting the most populous city in Ohio — called Cleveland — home to a fanatic craft beer community, loads of blue collar philanthropy, as well as Craft Brewing Business. Now, let’s get off this soapbox and discuss the 16th season of New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat.
The 2015 tour will travel to 10 cities this year, offering the best way to raise money for local non-profits, celebrate two wheels, dress up as your alter ego and be entertained. It all kicks off on May 30 in Washington, D.C., and wraps up in Tempe, Ariz., on Oct. 3. This year marks the 16th season for Tour de Fat, which has raised close to $4 million for local non-profits since it all began and raised more than $600,000 last year alone. The daylong festivities are free, but all proceeds from beer and merchandise sales, along with parade donations, go to local non-profits.
Each stop kicks off with a costumed bicycle parade that winds through city streets, ending in a city park for a day of entertainment. That’s when eclectic acts take over: from musical performances to yo-yo entertainers, vaudeville acts to a 1,000 person dance contest to win a New Belgium Cruiser Bike. New features this year include a new Le Tigre Grande variety tent and Sputnik mobile stage. The day of carnival creativity concludes with a celebration of inspirational car-for-bike swappers; brave souls who hand over their car keys as a commitment to commute by bike for the next year.
“Our love for bikes runs deep at New Belgium; it’s how the company started. So, every year we like to spread that love around the country by coming into towns from coast to coast and hosting the best way to spend a Saturday,” said Matt Kowal, Tour de Fat Impresario. “Each city has its own flair and uniqueness, which is what makes it all pretty awesome. And to be able to raise millions of dollars along the way, thanks to everyone who celebrates with us, it’s why we do this. We’re all anxious to get this party started once again!”
Tour de Fat will cycle through each of the following cities in 2015:
Washington, D.C. — May 30 — Yards Park
Durham, N.C. — June 20 — Diamond View Park
Chicago — July 11 — Palmer Square
Twin Cities, Minn. — July 25 — Loring Park
Boise, Idaho — August 15 — Ann Morrison Park
Fort Collins, Colo. — September 5 — Civic Center Park
Denver — September 12 — City Park
San Francisco — September 19 — Lindley Meadow, Golden Gate Park
San Diego — September 26 — Golden Hill Park
Tempe, Ariz. — October 3 — Tempe Beach Park
In 2014, Tour de Fat traveled to 10 cities nationwide and attracted 103,500 festival attendees. The philanthropic events raised a total of $625,716 for local nonprofits. New Belgium’s hometown of Fort Collins, Colo., raised the most money (more than $110,000) and attracted the most parade riders and festival-goers, totaling 25,000 people.
During each tour stop, New Belgium tries to leave as little of an environmental imprint as possible. Tour de Fat hosts green vendors, has compost and recycle stations and festival trucks that operate on biofuel sourced from recycled waste oils.
For the Tour de Fat credo, schedule, videos and to submit an entry to swap your car for a bike, check out www.facebook.com/TourDeFat.