The Fat & Skinny Tire Fest, presented by K21 Health Foundation, now enters its 12th year as a favorite event for fans of bicycling.
The event is May 15-17.
Kosciusko County Velo Cycling club has produced the event since 2004 as a way to showcase high-level competitive bicycle racing in our own community, according to Greg Demopoulos, club president.
According to a press release from the organization, over the years, the multi-day festival has expanded its purpose for economic development, community fellowship and awareness and education for the benefits of bicycling, with a desire to encourage expanded investments in bicycling- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.
“Our hope is that our entire community embraces whatever healthy living opportunities are available to them and interests them. Supporting family-friendly events like Fat & Skinny Tire Fest fits well with our goals in helping to create a vibrant community,” said Rich Haddad, president and CEO of K21 Health Foundation, in the release.
Mike Cusick, Fat & Skinny Tire fest director and KCV board member, said, “We are excited to expand the festival this year with at least one new event for each day of the festival. Our goal has always been to showcase the health, social, and economic benefits of bicycling.”
On May 15 Opening Ceremonies start in Winona Lake with the family-friendly Community Critical Mass Ride and a stop at the Limitless Park Splashpad for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, before heading to downtown Warsaw for the BMX Stunt Show.
Also on the schedule is a 3.2-mile road racing time trial starting in downtown Warsaw, as well as activities for the kids to participate in, including a “Foot-down” balance contest and “Push bike” drag races, to go along with the unveiling of the Festival video and live music from Sock Monkeys at Mad Anthony’s Lake City Taphouse.
May 16 activities include DINO series mountain bike racing on the Winona Lake Trails, a 19-, 39- or 65-mile casual road riding tour throughout the rolling farmland of southeast Kosciusko County.
Also for younger participants are several kids activities and safety clinics along with a family scavenger hunt and two more BMX stunt shows. History buffs will enjoy the Historical Winona Tour – a casual 3.5-mile ride with numerous stops at historical points within and around the Village.
Road racing continues south of town, starting at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, where racers will compete on a nine-mile course, completing multiple laps depending on their skill level. Before the evening’s entertainment gets kicked-off in the Village, hosted by Cerulean, mountain bike racers will have their chance at Saturday’s new event – the Mountain Bike 4Cross, a head-to-head race on the Hire Park BMX track.
May 17 includes a full day of road racing on the half-mile Island course, as well as the Kids Race and the celebrity beach cruiser corporate challenge race – the Orthopedic Cup. Mad Anthony’s will be hosting a Beer Garden on May 17 as spectators take in the day’s racing.
Additionally, KCV has added a multi-race competition called the Omnium. Racers will score points for their finishes in all three of the road racing events through the weekend. The racers with the most points will win the overall Omnium competition.
“Once again, we're looking forward to hosting another exciting year of our all-size-tires bicycling shindig in northern Indiana with a few thousand friends,” Demopoulos said. “We feel there’s no better way to celebrate National Bicycle Month and raise awareness for the many benefits of bicycling by getting the community involved and taking pride in one of the midwest’s best weekend festivals. Please help us spread the word (#FSTF12) and come out to the event. Together, through events and activities like this, we can help make our community a wonderful place to live, work, and play.”
Volunteer positions are still available. To donate some time to help with the festival, a form can be filled out on the Fat & Skinny Tire Fest website www.fatandskinnytirefest.com Volunteers receive an event T-shirt and a meal during their shift.
KCV is a volunteer-run non-profit organization focused on “making Kosciusko County a great place to live, work, play and visit through bicycling.” KCV focuses on awareness, access and activities for bicycling.
They work closely with the Ride+Walk Advisory Committee as a partner organization. Additionally, KCV is responsible for maintenance and construction of the popular off-road trails in Winona Lake.
Although KCV does not have membership, they are open to the public and rely on the participation and support of volunteers and funders to fulfill their mission. For more information, visit www.kcvcycling.org, www.winonalaketrails.com and www.fatandskinnytirefest.com
(Story By The Times Union)