Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Festival

Cyclists compete in Clear Lake during the Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Festival.

A weekend jam-packed with bicycles, blues, barbecue and brews is returning to Clear Lake for its 15th year.

Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque Festival will take place from Friday through Sunday and is expected to attract 8,000 visitors, including 350 cyclists from 15 states, to North Iowa.

“The beauty of this whole weekend is there’s something for everyone,” said Tim Putnam, festival director.

The festival, which is organized by a committee of eight, is made possible by more than 100 volunteers, sponsors and the city of Clear Lake.

For those looking to make the most of the Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque Festival, here are five things you won’t want to miss:

1. The kick-off party

The Surf Ballroom & Museum will host the Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque kick-off party Thursday.

Walter Trout, an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, will perform with special guest Nick Schnebelen Band. Trout released his latest album, “Survivor Blues,” in January and its track listing is a window into the 67-year-old’s fast-moving backstory, chronicling a five-decade career whose one constant is his deep love of blues.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. For more information, visit www.surfballroom.com.

Walter Trout

Walter Trout, an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, will perform Thursday at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

2. Brews on the Beach

A craft beer event unlike any in the state is returning to the shores of Clear Lake Saturday.

The fourth annual Brews on the Beach, which is hosted by Lake Time Brewery in conjunction with the Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque Festival, features 30 Iowa craft breweries and their finest brews. North Iowa brewers scheduled to attend are Worth Brewing Co. of Northwood, Fat Hill Brewing of Mason City, Limestone Brewers of Osage and Mason City Brewing.

Space is limited to 850 attendees and is expected to sell out. Participants must be 21 years old to attend. VIP tickets cost $45 and general admission tickets are $30. VIP access is from noon-4 p.m., while general admission is from 1-3 p.m. at the Clear Lake Seawall on North Lake View Drive.

For tickets or more information, visit www.brewsonthebeach.com.


Rustic Brew co-owners Joel and Kathy Heuer serve samples of their beer to attendees of Brews on the Beach, which featured 20 Iowa craft breweries, Saturday during the annual Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Festival in Clear Lake.

3. Barbecue

Foodies unite.

A variety of regional food trucks and vendors offering barbecue and more will be set up in City Park for bicycle racers, blues enthusiasts and visitors to enjoy a helping or two during the weekend’s festivities.

New and returning vendors will be available starting at 5 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday.


A variety of vendors offering barbecue and more will be set up in City Park Friday and Saturday during the Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque festival in Clear Lake.

4. Live blues music

Free live blues entertainment will abound on the main stage Friday and Saturday evenings at City Park in Clear Lake.

Ross William Perry, who’s been a rising star on the Midwest blues scene since graduating high school in 1998, will kick things off around 5 p.m. Friday with his blend of blues, rock and jazz.

Around 7 p.m. Friday, Heather Newman, an award-winning blues artist, will take the stage with her group that produces a one-of-a-kind medley of styles, like soul, funk, blues and rock, with a killer original set that

The Dee Miller Band, led by “The Duchess of the Blues” Dee Miller, will close the evening with a variety of blues, rock and rhythm and blues with its performance at 8:30 p.m.

Shawn Holt & The Teardrops, an award-winning blues band, will perform at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on the main stage.

Holt is the son of blues legend Magic Slim, and if you like what Magic Slim and The Teardrops had been doing for the past 35 years, you’ll enjoy that unique sound and energy with his son fronting the band.


Free blues entertainment will occupy the main stage Friday and Saturday in Clear Lake during the Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque festival.

5. Bicycle racing

More than 300 cyclists of all ages from 15 states are expected to participate in the annual Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque Festival’s four bike racing events.

The racing weekend begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday with 4-mile and 7-mile time trial courses at Lion’s Park followed by an action-packed day of criterium racing at 11 a.m. in downtown Clear Lake and along the lakeshore. Spectators are welcome to watch the races from City Park.

The free kids’ bicycle race for children 9 and younger will take place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at City Park.

On Sunday, bicycle racers will depart at 10 a.m. from Tourist Park for the road race across North Iowa. There’s 51-mile and 85-mile courses.

This year’s festival is hosting the Iowa Criterium Championship and the Iowa Memorial Race Cup Series.

Kids' race

A kids' race is among four bike racing events at the Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque festival in Clear Lake this weekend.

For more information about the Bicycle, Blues & Barbeque Festival or to volunteer, visit www.bicyclebluesbbq.com or follow the Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Facebook page.

Photos: Bicycle, Blues & BBQ Criterium Races 2017

Get News Alerts delivered directly to you.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.


Load comments