Tour de Fat brings out the bikes, beer and yo-yos

Jun. 19, 2014 @ 07:56 PM

Tour de Fat, New Belgium Brewing’s traveling festival of “Bikes, Beer and Bemusement” will return to Durham on Saturday for an afternoon of fun at Diamond View Park at American Tobacco Campus.

Tour de Fat starts off at 10 a.m. Saturday with registration for the bike parade, which launches at 11 a.m. and circles downtown Durham. Then at noon it’s fashion with best costumes of Tour de Fat, a comedic heavy metal magic show by Nigel Blackstorm, The Slow Ride Race and then midday the stage will feature a performance by the Yo-Yo People.
John Higby is half of the Yo-Yo People, who along with his wife Rebecca Loomis Higby, bring their Yo-Yo Show to the Tour de Fat stage. They fall under the “bemusement” aspect of the festival. They hold four Guinness World Records and the 2008 World Champion title in yo-yo. He’s been into yo-yos since age 11, and met Rebecca in a yo-yo club.
“I’ve always had the exact same enthusiasm for yo-yos since I got my first one -- nothing has changed. The level of play has, though, and now I'm trying to keep up with the kids,” Higby said.
Yo-Yo People performed at the Tour de Fat stop in Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago. It was an amazing time, Higby said, with huge happy crowds and quality entertainment.
“We can honestly say [Tour de Fat] is the best festival in the United States that features vaudeville circus with music. We have done arts festivals in 26 countries and the audiences in every city for Tour de Fat are the best,” Higby said. “We also love that the stages are these amazing works of art as well as the mini shows in the beautiful Le Tigre tent.”
For Yo-Yo People’s performance, they’ll use about 20 yo-yos for more than 100 tricks.
“Getting the audience involved is really what we thrive on and we will bring up some folks to help demonstrate some of our Guinness records like lighting a match with a yo-yo and knocking a coin off a person’s ear,” Higby said. They’ll also perform a shorter show “of zero gravity yo-yoing in space” called the Yo-Yo Astronaut, which won the Performers Choice Award at the World Buskers Festival in New Zealand, he said.
After Yo-Yo People, it’s time for a 1,000-person dance contest, with the winner to receive a New Belgium cruiser bike. Then it’s Vaudeville with The Handsome Little Devils, a car for bike trade, Lee Zimmerman The Puppet Guy, The Reals Band and Tour de Fat’s finale at 5 p.m.
Nonprofit partners that will benefit from Tour de Fat are Bike NC, Triangle Spokes Group and Durham Bike Co-op.
And don’t forget the beer: a dozen beers available include New Belgium Fat Tire Ale, New Belgium Ranger India Pale Ale, New Belgium Snapshot Wheat Beer and Carnie Blood, a blood orange saison made especially for Tour de Fat.
New Belgium Brewing is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, and expanding with a second brewery to open next year in Asheville. Last year’s Tour de Fat festival in Durham brought out 3,000 people and raised about $20,000 for local nonprofits.


WHAT: Tour de Fat
WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Diamond View Park
American Tobacco Campus, downtown Durham
TICKETS: Free admission, $5 for beer, donations accepted for nonprofits.

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