Boise Beer And Bicycle Festival Draws Critics After Fee And Venue Changes

Aug 11, 2017

We all know change can be hard. But when it comes to an annual bicycle festival slated for this Saturday in Boise, some programming changes could make or break the event.

Every year thousands of people would ride their bikes to Tour de Fat at Ann Morrison Park where they would enjoy beer, music and entertainment. The event is hosted by Colorado-based brewery New Belgium.

But this year, there’s a $25 entrance fee. For years, it has been free – and the event is now at the Botanical Garden rather than the downtown park. But according to Jimmy Hallyburton with the Boise Bicycle Project, the biggest complaint he’s heard is from people who say the festival no longer puts an emphasis on two-wheeled modes of transportation.

So Hallyburton’s organization – along with two other bike-oriented nonprofits – are leading a free bike parade and rally before the official event.

“New Belgium knew how important our bicycle parade is to us; we actually have one of the largest bicycle parades in the entire country," the nonprofit director says. "Not just in Tour de Fat but bike parades in general. And that’s something the Boise Bicycle Project and the other nonprofits take a lot of pride in.”

Hallyburton says he understands that for New Belgium, it was becoming unsustainable without a fee. But his nonprofit and two others in Boise have come to depend on the money that’s raised from the event.

“There’s always concern about when things change and whether you can rely on that funding and whether you can rely on this great community event that brings all the bicyclists together.”

He hopes that people still come out in big numbers to the free bike parade and the ticketed event, to help raise money for the bicycle community.

The free bicycle parade starts at 10 a.m at Ann Morrison Park, while the ticketed event at the Idaho Botanical Garden kicks off at 4 p.m.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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