WINONA LAKE — The 14th annual Fat & Skinny Tire Fest started off with the opening ceremony at the Trailhouse, Winona Lake, at 6 p.m. Friday, May 19. The rest of the weekend includes various rides for every experience level of bike riders. Rides include the DINO Series mountain bike races, the Countryside Tour and the Historical Winona Tour.
Activities geared toward children include face painting, a family scavenger hunt, coloring contest and a Trikester course.
Greg Demopoulos, president of KCV Cycling Club and one of the founders of the event, stated, “The whole purpose behind the festival is to shine a light on bicycling and the benefits of bicycling. The reason we started this fourteen years ago was to show what bicycling does for a community.”
At the opening ceremony, it was announced that KCV would be making a $5,000 donation to the Ride+Walk fund. Mike Cusick, KCV treasurer, expressed appreciation for the event sponsors, noting that for 11 of the 14 years K21 Health Foundation has been their title sponsor. Presenting sponsors include Kosciusko Community Hospital, Wildman Business Group, KCV Cycling and Zimmer Biomet. Cusick further stated that there are over 170 volunteers working together to coordinate this year’s event and that the event would not be possible without them.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said he appreciated everyone coming out in the rain. He praised Justin Taylor, Warsaw assistant city planner, for taking over the Ride+Walk initiative for the city and for the work Taylor has done on numerous projects in the community.
Over 290 riders were pre-registered for the event this year, which is a record number.
“The fact that it’s raining and all of you are still here speaks volumes to what our leaders have done,” said Demopoulos.