So, you live in Logan Square (or at least frequent here), and your undying enthusiasm for cycling is matched only by your palate for craft beer. If this describes you, first of all, you just might be the neighborhood’s spirit animal. Secondly, you’re in good company here. Want proof that Logan Square loves bikes and beer? Fortunately for you, New Belgium Brewing is back out on the road this summer and coming back to Palmer Square Park this Saturday to host an all-day bash celebrating the virtues of bicycle transportation and craft beer.
Tour de Fat is back in Logan Square, thanks to New Belgium, purveyor of widely distributed Fat Tire Amber Ale as well as other craft staples. Each summer, the Colorado brewery sends a team out on the road to tour the country in flying circus fashion, raising money for cycling-related charities in each of the cities where a Tour de Fat is held. Tour de Fat Chicago 2015 benefits West Town Bikes, a non-profit in West Town that encourages cycling in Chicago by providing bikes, workshops and other resources to underserved populations.
Bike Parade, Reggie Watts Among Schedule Highlights
On Saturday morning, Tour de Fat will kick things off with a massive bike parade traversing Logan Square’s boulevards and avenues. Don’t forget to wear a costume if you want to participate in this jaunt! This would also be a great time to show off that unconventional art bike you’ve been frankensteining in your garage.
By the time the swarm of pedalers circles back to Palmer Square Park, Tour de Fat’s curated entertainment schedule will likely be underway, leading up to a headlining performance by comedian/musician Reggie Watts. A dozen or so hand-picked local food vendors will also be on hand at Palmer Square Park this Saturday. As for beverage programming, New Belgium is tapping several special flavors of craft brew expressly for these Tour de Fat events. Expect the brewery’s crowd-pleasing Fat Tire and 1554 varieties to be in abundance. See the beer list and full Tour de Fat schedule here.
Two stages and a circus tent will host music, comedy, and eclectic performances throughout the day this Saturday. According to Fat Tire, the whole shindig is “best described by being here,” but while the delightful weirdness of this event must really be experienced firsthand, some of Saturday’s key moments are worth mentioning. New Belgium has developed a solid reputation for its Tour de Fat events in Chicago based on its cultivated quirk, which appeals to casual street-festival crawlers as well as die hard cyclists and hop heads.
Tour de Fat takes over Palmer Square in less that three days, so as a quick primer, here’s just a sample of some of the attractions and entertainment arriving in Logan Square along with New Belgium’s renowned craft beer offerings.
10 am – Tour de Fat Bike Parade Registration Opens – Main stage
11 am – Bike parade launch – Main Stage (Click here for a parade route map)
11:50 am – Fashion! is an extemporaneous runway show featuring cyclists showing off the morning’s best parade costumes.
noon – Special New Belgium keg tappings (La Folie, Hop Tart, Pear Ginger) – ‘Lips Lounge’
12:10 pm – Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds – Main Stage
Bluesy soul-rockers out of Brooklyn. Click here to hear their stuff.
2 pm – Special New Belgium keg tapping (Carnie’s Blood) – ‘Lips Lounge’
2:40 pm – Car for Bike Trade – Main Stage
New Belgium puts the money where its mouth is, awarding one citizen of Chicago a sizable budget for a brand new bike, in exchange for their car keys, and a solemn vow to live car-free for an entire year. The car will later be auctioned, with proceeds benefitting West Town Bikes. (Video submissions to be considered have closed.)
3:30 pm – Honeybuns – ‘Le Tigre Circus Tent’
A classically-trained clown artist, Dean Evans will give a one-man performance as a rather sinister looking harlequin called Honeybuns, a character of his own creation. Theater critics have described Evans’ past performances in Chicago as “surreal” and “magnetic.” (Intended for adult audiences)
4 pm – Reggie Watts – Main Stage
Innovative experimental musician or alt-comic? Watts’ routine isn’t very predictable or easy to sum up, because his fusion of electronic music and impressionistic humor is amazingly seamless, affording him a measure of transcendence above reductive labels. Check him out! Fans of Radiohead equipped with a sense of humor will enjoy this clip.
5pm – Finale! –Main Stage
No word on what’s in store for the capper to this full slate of quality diversions, but if you’re planning on lingering around the neighborhood for a while anyway, head to the main stage to see what’s in store!
Happy Touring, Loganites! It won’t be long before this festival-like atmosphere outgrows its current host venue in Palmer Square. Tour de Fat is a highly original and satisfyingly quirky experience that stands apart from typical beer fests or brewery expos. Take advantage of this event’s diverse attractions while it’s run in the neighborhood lasts! It’s for a good cause! Did I mention there’s beer?