PALMER SQUARE — The annual Tour de Fat festival in Logan Square brought more than 8,000 people to the neighborhood and raised more money for local causes than previous festivals, according to fest organizers.
More than $51,000 was raised for West Town Bikes and CHIRP radio July 11 when “8,000 bike-riding philanthropists” came to town, and 1,500 people participated in the annual bike parade, according to New Belgium representatives.
That’s a total attendance up by 3,000 people and a fundraising effort up 61 percent over 2014.
The parade, however, didn’t come without some push-back from car drivers via honking and shouting while waiting for the parade to pass.
"You have the road every day of the year! This is one day!" Humboldt Park resident Joe Cassel, 39, said as he was given the middle finger by a woman in a minivan full of kids.
But there was also plenty of support from car drivers. Some parade goers shouted "thank you!" to the motorists, who responded back with honks of support or waves.
The parade had a Chicago Department of Transportation-issued permit to run red lights, according to Alex Wilson, executive director of West Town bikes, who marshaled the parade along with 20 other volunteers.
Headquartered at 2459 W. Division St. in Humboldt Park, West Town Bikes is a nonprofit organization that promotes bicycle riding across the city by providing affordable bikes to under-served communities. It also has youth programs such as Earn a Bike, which allows kids to learn bike mechanics by helping fix up bikes until they put in enough shop time to build their own bike for free.
Funds from Tour de Fat will be used to further those efforts along with contributions to CHIRP (the Chicago Independent Radio Project), a volunteer-driven, online community radio station that focuses on music, arts and culture.
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