This year, New Belgium Brewing Co. celebrates 25 years of brewing up fun, a silver anniversary that means new tricks, musical supersizing and doubling down on wackiness for the brewery’s annual Tour de Fat. The traveling celebration creates a spectacular sensory experience complete with great beer, bikes, music, comedy, sustainability and philanthropy. In honor of this monumental year for the brewery, New Belgium has crafted a list of 10 reasons that 2016 is a year you and all your friends must attend Tour de Fat:
1. Chances are good it’s coming to a city near you! This year Tour de Fat is traveling to nine locations:
- May 21 – Washington, D.C.
- June 25 – Durham, N.C.
- July 9 – Chicago, Ill.
- August 13 – Boise, Idaho
- September 3 – Ft. Collins, Colo.
- September 10 – Denver
- September 17 – San Francisco
- September 24 – San Diego
- October 1 – Tempe, Ariz.
To keep up on the latest info for each city, check out NewBelgium.com/TourdeFat.
2. Tour de Fat 2016 Presents Dr. Dog! This Philly-based Neo-Americana Psych Rock outfit draws inspiration from the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground and soul music and will headline the Tour de Fat stage in Tempe and San Francisco. Their new concept album has been garnering rave reviews and earning them sold-out shows. To that end: Tempe and San Francisco will require a $10 ticket this year, well worth the all-day entertainment and shenanigans!
3. Turning a quarter-of-a-century super charges the creative juices. This year marks the 25th anniversary for New Belgium Brewing, which means more variety, local/regional acts and double the zany antics you come to expect at Tour de Fat.
4. Help push Tour de Fat past the $5 million mark! It could happen this year and we need everyone’s support! Although it’s a day of revelry, bike love and fun times, the main mission of Tour de Fat is to give back to our non-profit friends, who spread bike love year round.
5. Become a trader! Nine people will trade their car for a bike through an amazingly transformative experience celebrated through the Tour de Fat car-for-bike ceremony. Want to apply to trade your vehicle for the gift of two wheels? Click here to apply.
6. Did someone say great beer? Tour de Fat offers an opportunity to enjoy New Belgium classics, such as Fat Tire and Citradelic Tangerine IPA, along with more esoteric beers from its Lips of Faith series. It’s also the only place to enjoy Carnie Blood, a beer made in honor of the Tour de Fat Carnies that make this all possible every year. Carnie Blood Vol. 3 is an Imperial Stout brewed with two single-origin cocoas and chicory. Yum!
7. One word — costumes! Tour de Fat is the place to bring out the Halloween costume again, dress as your alter-ego and let your freak flag fly. We like to say if everyone is weird, no one is weird. So, start thinking about it now.
8. Always wanted to be in a parade? Now you can! Tour de Fat offers costumed bike parades in each city, with rolling closures of city streets. It’s a magical feeling to legally own the road on your bike!
9. The entertainment keeps going and going and going. Once it starts it lasts for about five hours with several venues going at once, filled with variety acts that’ll make you scratch your head, tap your foot and laugh out loud.
10. Do you like to win? We have contests! From a Slow-Ride, to a Fashion Show and even The Bike is Right! Gameshow – Tour de Fat is looking for ways to put you in the show and give away New Belgium cruiser bikes. So start shining up your dance shoes and practice your slow-mo bike riding skills.
“During this off-season we’ve been working on how to make this year stand above the rest. We’ve curated incredible acts for our Sputnik mobile stage, Le Tigre Grande and Grotto stages and then of course our main stage presenting Dr. Dog at some stops makes it an epic year,” said Matt Kowal, Tour de Fat’s Impresario. “The performances are going to be dynamic and super creative, making it the best costumed, free-flowing, bike and beer festival you could attend. We’re stoked to hit the road and see the magic happen.”
This year marks the 17th season for Tour de Fat, which has raised more than $4 million for local non-profits since it all began and close to $650,000 last year alone. The daylong festivities are free in all cities except for Tempe and San Francisco, but all proceeds from beer and merchandise sales, along with parade donations, go to local non-profits.
During each tour stop, New Belgium tries to leave as little of an environmental imprint as possible. The tour hosts green vendors, has compost and recycle stations and festival trucks that operate on biofuel sourced from recycled waste oils.
Paul Gruber is New Belgium Brewing Co.’s captain carnie, which means he heads up Tour de Fat. We thank him for this excellent article.