This weekend (July 11-13) the Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Clear Lake. Each year, the festival has grown, and this year lines up to be the best and biggest yet, according to Tim Putnam, festival and race director.
“Over 10 years ago, one time Clear Lake resident, Joe Boatman wanted to bring back the Clear Lake bike race that went one lap around the lake. Then Casey Martin, Shane Cooney and I stepped in to add our own little touches to the event. That’s how this BBBQ Festival has grown to what it is now,” said Putnam. This has become one of the biggest weekend draws for Clear Lake.
The Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival has a new banner sponsor this year, North Iowa Oral Surgery. Dr. Lyell Hogg, owner of NIOS, loves cycling and is proud to make the festival a huge success. According to Hogg, “The BBBQ weekend has become such a huge event for Clear Lake and the surrounding communities that North Iowa Oral Surgery Associates feel honored to be in the position of title sponsor, and we couldn’t be more proud to be associated with such a professional and outstanding organization!”
The festival opens on Friday evening with live blues music at the band shell and lots of vendors with the best BBQ in our area. The park will be filled with people who’ve brought lawn chairs to enjoy the music and food. The opening band is The Dee Miller Band, a powerful Twin Cities favorite, starting at 5:30 p.m. The closing band will be the Irresistibles, with vocals by Mick Sterling, Katie Gearty, and Cate Fierro.
Bicycling begins on Saturday morning. Recreational rides are open for cyclists of all abilities and ages with the Tour de Fields. Rides of 28-, 40- and 60-miles are planned, as well as a family ride around the lake of 14 miles.
While the recreational rides are progressing, racing starts with the time trial starting and ending near Lions Field on North 8th Street. Later in the morning, the criterium, or “crit”, starts on a 0.8-mile course in downtown. Through the afternoon and evening, each race group gets faster and more exciting, with the Pro-Am race starting at 6:50 p.m.
Events for the kids include a family fun ride starting at 9 a.m. in City Park, a free non-competitive kids race for kids under the age of 10, and new this year, kids, age nine to 18-years, compete in the junior category races. These races include a five-mile time trial, a criterium race and a 27-mile road race.
The headline act for the blues portion of the weekend is Sonny Landreth, who will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. His slide guitar playing features a heavy zydeco influence, with his roots and home in Louisiana. Sonny has performed with music greats like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffet and John Hiatt.
BBQ vendors will be on site during the day, and blues music resumes at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday morning, the road races start and end near Tourist Park on South Shore Drive.
North Iowa SPIN, a local cycling and multisport team sponsor the festival. SPIN is a volunteer, nonprofit group. Proceeds from SPIN activities are used to support trail development and cycling projects in northern Iowa.
A complete listing of Festival activities and schedule can be found at www.bicyclebluesbbq.com.