New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat in Asheville

CELEBRATING ALL THINGS BEER AND BIKES — Join the revelers for the 20th Tour de Fat, Saturday, Sept. 21, at New Belgium Brewing in Asheville. Admission is free.

It’s an event that, ‘Wheels and Squeals’ its way to New Belgium’s Asheville campus just once each year, as revelers from far and wide, turn body ‘fat’ into ‘pedal power’ — all in celebration good times and great beer.

Yes, it’s Tour de Fat time again, Saturday, Sep. 21. This year New Belgium Brewing is celebrating the 20th hosting of this iconic party — pulling out all the stops to make it the best Tour de Fat, ever.

For starters, there will be no admission fee for the 2019 Tour de Fat. It’s free fun for one and all, and a carnival scene like no other.

This year’s Tour de Fat starts at 11 a.m. with a costumed bicycle parade weaving its way from French Broad Outfitters, 230 Hominy Creek Rd., Asheville, to New Belgium’s Craven Street campus. All forms of pedaling will be represented — from mountain bikes to unicycles, road bikes to bicycles-built-for-two — a few token tricycles, and no-doubt, an old fashioned high-wheeler or two.

Many of the human-powered machines will be elaborately decorated, with riders and passengers fashionably and festively attired.

Yes, Tour de Fat is, “quite a scene,” and getting there is half the fun — or more.

New Belgium is rewarding the most creatively decorated bicycle ‘float’ with a $500 credit at the brewery’s Liquid Center. Also, this year, Tour de Fat revelers have the option to rent paddle boards and ‘float-in’ to New Belgium, French Broad River-style. This gives the initials PFD (Personal Flotation Device) new meaning — Pretty-fun-deal.

However you get to the New Belgium campus, Tour de Fat is always a family-friendly fun time for all. The party runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with live entertainment taking the main stage from 1 to 6 p.m., and a free-for-all of live entertainment provided throughout the afternoon, courtesy of New Belgium’s touring ensemble of comedians, cirque performers and my favorite kind of entertainers — general ‘mayhemists.’ Music headliners The Connells, a Raleigh-based jangle pop rock band, take the stage at 5 p.m.

Tour de Fat is a day to celebrate, “beer, bikes and bemusement,” and everyone is encouraged to come in costume.

New Belgium Brewing is an employee-owned company with core values that include, “producing world class beer,” “environmental stewardship,” “having fun,” and “giving back to the community.”

To that end, a generous portion of beer sales at Tour de Fat will be donated to the Asheville on Bikes organization.

Volunteers are needed for the bike parade and Tour de Fat activities at the brewery. Visit www.newbelgiumbrewingcompany.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=40983.

New Belgium Brewing is at 21 Craven St. in Asheville’s River Arts District. Call 828-333-6900 or visit www.newbelgium.com for more information.

Paul Viau is an award-winning creative director, with a 30-year career in advertising and marketing. Originally from Denver, Colorado, he met his wife, Carol, when they worked for rival advertising agencies in Miami, Florida. They became permanent residents of Haywood County in 2008 and reside in Waynesville. 

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