Nonprofits worry Tour De Fat changes could mean less proceeds

BOISE, Idaho - For years New Belgium Brewing Company's Tour De Fat has brought bikes and beers together at Ann Morrison Park to help three nonprofits thrive. Thousands of dollars have been donated to the Boise Bicycle Project, Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, and the Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association. But while the annual bike parade remains free, this year if you want to enjoy the festival and support the nonprofits, you're going to need to pay $25 per person. 

"When we first heard about it, my heart fell down I was like my God what are we going to do," said Lisa Brady of the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance.

Aside from needing a ticket to get into the festival, they've changed the venue. Outlaw Field at the Idaho Botanical Gardens. A smaller setting compared to Ann Morrison Park. An organizer with New Belgium says the changes come to take the tour to more cities and make it more sustainable.  

"We expanded the tour this year from ten cities too 33 cities and to try to keep sustainable and within our businesses plan we had to recoup some of the production costs," explained Paul Gruber of New Belgium Brewing Company.

But with the festival now costing cash, the nonprofits who rely on it are worried there will be a smaller turnout. Both the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance and the Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association say the majority of their annual budgets come from the festival's proceeds.  

"I've talked to people who say they are absolutely going to boycott that event and that makes me feel a little bit sad because New Belgium for all these years they've been coming to Boise and really supported this community and it's brought us to where we are today," said Brady.

"We still have all of our tools and equipment for building trails so it wouldn't affect us in that manner but you know it but it won't be easy as it has been in the past," said Dennis Swift of Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association.

New Belgium says they are committed to helping local communities. They and the nonprofits they serve in Boise hope's this year festival is a success, even if does cost to get in. 

"If you do spend that money, that really is an investment back into organizations like ours, like SWIMBA, like TVCA so we can continue to build this place into a better place for everybody to ride," said Jimmy Hallyburton of the Boise Bicycle Project.

The free bike parade pedals off from Ann Morrison Park at 10am on Saturday followed by a rally at the statehouse. You can still buy tickets for the festival at the Idaho Botanical Garden, gates open at 4pm.

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