Presented by K21 Health Foundation, the Fat & Skinny Tire Fest now enters its 12th year as a favorite event for locals and Midwesterners alike – especially for fans of bicycling. Kosciusko County Velo (KCV Cycling) has produced the event since 2004 as a way to showcase high-level competitive bicycle racing in our own community. 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. And 2015 will be no different.
“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, the title sponsor of the festival.
“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,” said Mike Cusick, Fat & Skinny Tire Fest Director and KCV Board Member. On Friday night, 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 ever-popular BMX Stunt Show. In addition, a highly competitive 3.2 mile road racing time trial starting in downtown Warsaw, as well as fun activities for the kids to participate in, including a “Foot-down” balance contest, and “Push bike” drag races are on the schedule, to go along with the unveiling of the Festival video, and live music from Sock Monkeys at Mad Anthony’s Lake City Taphouse.
Saturday’s activities include DINO series mountain bike racing in the Winona Lake Trails, a 19, 39, or 65 mile casual road riding tour throughout the rolling farmland of southeast Kosciusko County. Several kids activities and safety clinics, along with a family-friendly scavenger hunt and two more BMX stunt shows will keep the little ones busy. 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 that has made Winona Lake what it is today. Road racing continues south of town, starting at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, where racers will compete on a 9 mile course, completing multiple laps depending on their skill level. Before the evening’s entertainment get’s 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.
Sunday includes a full day of road racing on the favorite half-mile Island course, as well as the Kids Race, and the celebrity beach cruiser corporate challenge race – the Orthopedic Cup. In addition, Mad Anthony’s will be hosting a Beer Garden on Sunday afternoon as spectators take in the days racing. Additionally, KCV has sweetened the prize winnings for the road racers by adding 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!” said Greg Demopoulos, KCV Cycling President. “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 and critical to helping provide a great experience for festival goers. If you would like 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. Here is the 2015 Fat & Skinny Tire Fest Schedule.