"Tempe Cesspool for the Arts"

aka "Tempe Center for the Arts"


Tour de Fat

Tour de Fat - Tempe, Arizona Saturday October 10, 2009 Tour de Fat

What: New Belgium Brewing Company hosts this annual wacky bike parade through downtown Tempe, which is followed by live entertainment and beer gardens at Tempe Beach Park.

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Tempe Town Lake, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe.

Admission: Free.

Details: 480-350-8625, newbelgium.com


10/10: Bikes, booze, bands at Tour de Fat in Tempe

by Kellie Hwang - Oct. 6, 2009 11:15 AM

The Arizona Republic

Bikes, booze, bands and boisterous behavior.

Tour de Fat

What: New Belgium Brewing Company hosts this annual wacky bike parade through downtown Tempe, which is followed by live entertainment and beer gardens at Tempe Beach Park.

That's Tour de Fat in a nutshell. Thousands of people in wacky costumes will hop on their bicycles Saturday, and then gather for a big celebration at Tempe Beach Park. The traveling event is hosted by the New Belgium Brewing Company and named after the popular brew Fat Tire.

"The event sprouted from a desire to have an event to celebrate bikes because we are such a bike-centric company," said Matt Kowal, the national Tour de Fat organizer. "We all struggle everyday to make good choices, but with a bike, it's a positive way to make change. It's good for the planet, for the air, for our bodies and is a win-win situation."

One way the event encourages a lifestyle change is through the car-for-a-bike program. Organizers are still looking for a committed soul who is willing to give up their vehicle for a year and in turn, will get a sweet new bike.

"The participant gets a handmade Black Sheep commuter bike and is carried through the crowd," explained Kowal. "Then they sign over the title to their car, the gospel band sings and puts them through a ritual rite of passage into a care-free life and the crowd goes wild."

While the event is free to get in, a portion of the money from the beer sales goes to local non-profits Tempe Bicycle Action Group and the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona.

"People get into it every year because it's not a competitive event and people are just there to have fun, listen to music and dance," said Stan Klonowski, an original founder of the bike action group and member of the Mountain Bike Association. "Also I think a bike was pretty much everyone's first taste of freedom. It takes everyone back to being a little kid."

During the morning bike parade, thousands will be on their decked-out cruisers and some in even more elaborate pedal-powered vehicles. Years past have seen a strange low-rider bike covered in doll heads, old-fashioned high wheelers and intricate handmade art bikes.

The hoards of revelers then head to Tempe Beach Park to enjoy an eclectic group of vaudeville-type performers, including the wild March Fourth Marching Band and the Squirm Burpee Circus.

While bikes are the main attraction, costumes come in a close second. People will dress in groups, from a huge pack of co-ed Where's Waldos to frat boys wearing Jackie Moon basketball jerseys. Many put on old Halloween costumes, from superheroes to zombies to French maids.

"People get to be their alter egos and it gives them a chance to come as Spiderman instead of Peter Parker," said Kowal. "You leave that mild mannered person at home and be who you want to be for a day."

Avondale resident Thomas Owens, 24, who attended a Tour de Fat when it was in Flagstaff, said he doesn't have a bike but it thinking about buying one just for the event. He has been thinking of a costume for a while.

"It will probably be pirate-themed," he said.

The volunteer-run event is also environmentally-friendly, with solar-powered stages and generators running on recycled restaurant oil. The Students of AZ Network for Sustainability coordinates a recycling program that sends only about 7 percent of the day's waste to the landfill.


Tempe Center for the Arts

Tempe Cesspool for the Arts