Tour De Fat, the annual bacchanal of beer, bikes and bands, is returning to Boise Saturday, Aug. 12. Put on by New Belgium Brewing Company, the festivus has in years past brought tens of thousands of costumed bike-riders out to occupy Ann Morrison Park like a low-emission Thunderdome. This year, revelers will gather in Outlaw Field at the Idaho Botanical Gardens—and it will cost $25 to get in.
Despite the change of venue and introduction of ticket sales, organizers said Tour De Fat 2017 will remain similar to previous years.
There will be bands: The headliner this year is Atlanta, Georgia-based country rock band Blackberry Smoke, making Boise the last stop on its western tour before heading east.
There will be beer: New Belgium classics like Fat Tire and Euro-style brews like the 1554 Black Lager and currently super-popular sours.
There will be beneficiaries: Southwest Idaho Mountain Bike Association, Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance and pedal-powerhouse Boise Bicycle Project all stand to gain. Proceeds from Tour De Fat 2016 totaled $63,365.
"There are a lot of similarities [between the 2016 and 2017 events]. We still have the same touring ensemble," said New Belgium Public Relations Director Brian Simpson.
That said, Tour De Fat took place in 12 U.S. cities in 2016. This year, 33 cities will host the event as part of a "new vision" designed to expand the reach of the tour, Simpson said. As in Boise, all of those events will be ticketed.
The action begins at 4 p.m., so attendees can, in Simpson's words, "catch that magic hour at sunset" and enjoy a music festival-esque atmosphere. Get tickets at newbelgium.com.
Unfazed by the changes, the annual Tour De Fat Bicycle Parade and Rally, which is put on by BBP and TVCA and drew a small army of Boiseans and their freak flags last year, will go on as scheduled, beginning at Ann Morrison Park at 10 a.m. and culminating at the Idaho Statehouse for a demonstration. Suggested slogans on the event Facebook page include: "We value access to our public lands where we ride recreationally," and, "We want safer streets for Idaho families!" Register for the rally online at boisebicycleproject.org.