Tour de Fat hits Loring Park on Saturday


This weekend Tour de Fat, a music, beer, and art-filled bike festival, will be returning to Minneapolis's Loring Park. In addition to a costumed bike parade, ride-able art, games, activities, yo-yo acts, and music (including circus marching band Mucca Pazza and The Dovekins), the main event will feature a bike swap where one person trades in his car for a bicycle, and pledges to live car-free for a year.  [jump]

Tour de Fat, run by New Belgium Brewing, is a celebration of sustainability and biking. While the event is free, money raised via donations, beer and merchandise sales, and the silent auction go toward bicycle advocacy nonprofits. They've raised over 1.75 million dollars for bike causes since they've started twelve years ago. This weekend's festival will benefit Midtown Greenway Coalition (beer proceeds), Minneapolis Off-Road Cycling Advocates (parade donations), and Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (merchandise and DIY and silent auction).

"There's definitely an aesthetic of durability, portability, and sustainability," says Matt Kowal about Tour de Fat. In this vein, the festival tries to leave as small an environmental imprint as possible, composting and recycling waste. Additionally, the musical acts perform on a solar-powered stage decorated with recycled materials, and trucks and transport use biofuel sourced from recycled waste oils.

The day starts out at 10 a.m. this Saturday at Loring Park (get there a bit earlier to register for the parade). After the family-friendly ride, you can check out the Bike Rodeo Corral which will be filled with art bikes, including a bike that runs on shoes, swivel bikes, forward and backward bikes, and more.

You can also visit the "portyoke," a large port-a-potty that has a jungle scene inside with karaoke and a video screen. And there will be DIY activities where you can make a silk-screen shirt, buttons, and other things.

For kids and kids at heart, the festival includes games such as a giant Connect Four, a tire toss, a giant magnifying class, and other fun stuff. 

Musical acts include the Dovekins at 12:30 p.m. and Mucca Pazza at 2:55 p.m. on the Revival Stage with additional music throughout the park, including during the parade. Other entertainment includes Yo-Yo People, who do yo-yo tricks, at 11:25 a.m. on the Side Stage and The Bicycle Dating game at 1:20 p.m. at the Revival Stage.

At 2:40 p.m. at the Revival Stage hosts the Car for Bike Trade, now in its fourth year. During this time one person will agree to trade in their car in for a new, handcrafted bicycle from New Belgium Brewing and Black Sheep Bikes. There's a contest to get your chance to make the pledge, so if you are interested you need to register. See here for details.