Fat Tire Festival

Get Pedaling at the Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Festival 2023

Article By Abby Parks

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The Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Festival, an annual event that first began in 2016, is set to draw cyclists from Alabama and the Southeast to Anniston, Alabama for three days of biking events, games, food, live music, and more. Hosted by the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA), the festival allows cyclists the opportunity to explore over 45 miles of combined trails at the Coldwater Trailhead and Fort McClellan from Friday, October 20 through Sunday, October 22. It’s one of two major annual cycling events that NEABA hosts in Calhoun County, the other being the Cheaha Challenge in Jacksonville. They also support other events like the Sunny King Criterium every April. It’s not too late to register and take part in the Fat Tire Festival, so read on to find out what you’ll be missing if you don’t register.


Elaine Boone, who has been an attendee and supporter of the Fat Tire Festival in years past, is the main coordinator for the event this year. She told us that this year’s festival is notable for NEABA as they’ll have board members from SORBA–the Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association–present not only to take part in the festival but to also conduct their fall summit meeting. 


Friday will kick off with a cycling Scavenger Hunt at 1 pm, which goes off and on throughout the weekend. Bikers can take to the trails, following clues that will lead them on a search round about Coldwater Mountain, where they’ll take part in mini bike challenges, take pics, answer questions, and earn raffle tickets to increase their chances of winning prizes. There will also be a group ride in the afternoon to explore the trail on Fort McClellan, and then an evening group ride, followed by pizza, beer, and a movie.


A couple of events scheduled are new to the festival, one of which was created by Elaine herself–the Triple Crown event. Cyclists will take part in three different challenges. The first is the Longest Jump where competitors see how far they can jump their bikes in one single bound. The second will involve balancing on one’s bike without the feet touching the ground in the Longest Trackstand. The third category is the Highest Bunny Hop, where cyclists try to hop in the air on their bikes. The other new event this year is the Coldwater Crush Endurance Mountain Race, where competitors will compete in a long-distance 30-mile race.


On the new events and the future of Fat Tire Fest, Elaine Boone said, “I have a lot of vision for the growth of this event. I feel really excited for where it’s going.”


There are other enjoyable events like the Poker Ride, food trucks in Zinn Park, swag, live entertainment, and a special night out at the Coldwater Mountain Brewpub, one of the sponsors of the festival. For an additional cost, there will also be a workshop offered by Lon Cullen, a cycling coach with a reputation for expert cycling skills. He’ll be teaching an Intermediate Skills Clinic where attendees can get instruction in a small group setting on skills like trackstands, front and read wheel lifts, wheelies, bunny hops, pedal drops, and more.


Another cool feature of the Fat Tire Festival is the option to camp just minutes away from the center of activity. Tent campers can set up right in Zinn Park, while RV camping will be located on 14th Street. And for those on a budget, you can even rent a pallet to sleep in comfort at the YMCA just one block from Zinn Park. 


Another coordinator, Natalia Hawthorne, commented on this year’s festival, expressing very positive sentiments regarding expectations for its success:


“N.E.A.B.A. is ecstatic to bring the 7th annual Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Festival back to Anniston and to be hosting the S.O.R.B.A. Silver Summit in conjunction with the Festival! We strive to make positive impacts within the community and promote cycling events that create safe spaces for riders of all skill levels to join and have a good time on a bike. This festival has several group rides with amazing leaders to show you around the trails, ranging from short to long and from easy to hard. This year we are also bringing in an air bag for the more adventurous riders to safely perfect their jumps and tricks on. In addition to all of the daily activities, we have gatherings after hours where riders can connect and make lasting friendships within the greater cycling community in the southeast. We hope that this year’s festival continues the legacy of years past and I am already looking forward to making next year’s fest even better!”


 Down to the nitty-gritty–registration to the festival includes meals, a t-shirt, entry in a swag giveaway, and live music. Rates for registering are as follows:


  • Weekend Pass – $150 + $9.14 fee
  • Weekend Pass w/NEABA Membership – $100 = $6.47 fee
  • Friday Day Pass – $25 + $2.56 fee
  • Saturday Day Pass – $75 + $5.13 fee
  • Sunday Day Pass – $50 + $3.80 fee
  • No Frills Day Pass – $15 + $1.92 fee
  • 14th St. RV Camping (per RV) – $50 + 3.80 fee
  • Zinn Park Tent Camping (per tent) – $30 + $2.73 fee
  • YMCA Pallet – $15 + $1.92 fee
  • Intermediate Skills Clinic – $80 + $5.40 fee


If you have questions, you can email Elaine Boon at cwmfattirefestival@gmail.com.


Where is the fun-filled Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Festival located? Zinn Park, 101 West 14th Street, Anniston, Alabama. Time to get registered, get out that bike, and start pedaling!

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