Tour de Fat: It’s not a bike race. It’s not a concert. It’s not a beer fest. But according to New Belgium Southeast Field Brander Jared Burton, “It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure” festival.
New Belgium Brewery hosts a free event called Tour de Fat, which takes place throughout the United States, promoting its products and independent spirit. Entertaining events in the lineup include a sponsored downtown bicycle ride, magicians, singers, food trucks and a wide assortment of New Belgium Brewery’s beers (including the ever-popular, Fat Tire).
Last weekend, Tour de Fat visited Nashville, bringing a carnival-like atmosphere to entertain kids of all ages, all day long. It began with a downtown bicycle ride. Many entrants decked out their bikes and rode in costumes.
Throughout the day, Tour de Fat’s entertainment lineup included Honeymoon Cabaret (highlighted by a banana spitting contest, sometimes hurling into the crowd, if they didn’t applaud loud enough), Rayland Baxter and a bicycle Slow Ride which was too hilarious for words. Needless to say, it was amusing and practically impossible to win… brilliant!
I made friends with everyone underneath the High-Gravity Beer Tent. Sampling strong, flavorful beers I’d never tried before was a treat. Pluot (a fruity ale with hints of plums and apricots) and Cascara Quad (a dark ale made with dates and coffee cherries) were my favorites of the day.
What kind of beer-sponsored festival wouldn’t have plenty of fresh food for everyone? There were plenty of local Food Trucks on hand to sell their product to the hungry masses. With the temperature sweltering around the 95 degree mark, beer and food were both in high demand throughout the day. I managed to visit The Grilled Cheeserie (a Gourmet Grilled Cheese Truck) for a great Buffalo Chicken Melt.
Another highlight of the day was learning of the Car-For-Bike Trade, where a young lady donated her car to charity and vowed to ride a commuter bicycle every day for one year, as her main form of transportation. New Belgium Brewery provided the money for the commuter bike and plans to keep track of her story throughout the year, via their Webpage.
Other forms of entertainment could be found throughout Centennial Park, such as oddly entertaining bicycles to ride, puppetry booths, poetry, performing arts and concerts. Speaking of concerts, the ultimate highlight of the day was witnessing the spectacle of featured band, Here Come The Mummies. Not only are they great looking, totally decked out in vintage rags, but their stage show is infectious. Plenty of smoke machines filled the area, complete with enthusiastic music to rock out with. Their performance was amazing and I can’t wait to see them again.
The entire Tour de Fat festival donated 100 percent of its proceeds to local nonprofit charities. Nashville-based charities involved with Tour de Fat include Sound Forest, Ride For Reading, Oasis Bike Workshop and Walk/Bike Nashville. In fact, around $32,000 was collected in one day alone. That’s making an amazing footprint, New Belgium! I already liked your beer, but now I love your brewery-with-a-heart compassion!