I’m excited every year when next week’s big day rolls around.
Halloween? Oh yeah, there’s that, too. But I’m talking about AMBC’s Fall Fest.
2019 marks the 10th annual Appalachian Mountain Bike Club Fall Fest. It started out as a scruffy little celebration of mountain biking and camaraderie in the backwoods of South Knoxville. Now, it’s a scruffy huge celebration at Baker Creek Preserve, the gateway to the Urban Wilderness.
It’s probably fair to say that without AMBC, Knoxville would have no Urban Wilderness. AMBC leaders and members have been the workhorses of the UW. Their advocacy and sweat equity have fostered the UW’s expansion and established trails that draw cyclists and other users from near and far.
As much as they enjoy creating and working on trails, you will never find a more fun-loving group than AMBC. It’s hard to say which they like better, bikes or beer. Probably bikes. No, beer. Whatever. They work hard. They play hard. And Fall Fest is the peak of the year’s schedule.
So on Saturday, Nov. 2, you will find a host of biking enthusiasts taking over Baker Creek Preserve, 1516 Taylor Road. Veterans to newbies, kids to adults – all will be on hand. You’re welcome, too. Admission is free.
There will be group rides for all levels along with a Bell Joy Ride, bike demos from multiple manufacturers and a short track race by Dirty Bird Events. All day long you can buy AMBC swag, vie for great items in a silent auction (closing at 8:30) and buy tickets for the big custom-bike raffle presented by Ibis Cycles and Harpers Bike Shop (winner announced at 8:35 p.m.).
Food trucks open at 11:30 a.m., and the traditional AMBC family supper provided by Bush’s Beans and Sweet P’s Barbeque & Downtown Dive starts at 6:30 p.m. There will be beer on tap, and beer gardens open at noon (see what I mean!).
The on-site campground opens at 4 p.m. Friday, and there’ll be a sound-check social at 6 p.m.
Saturday activities begin at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and demos. The Bell Joy Ride is at 10, and group rides start at 10:30. There will be several guided rides for kids. Live music starts at 5:30, and a silent disco starts at 10 p.m.
Sunday brings breakfast provided by SoKno Taco Cantina, along with the inevitable cleanup (volunteers appreciated). Then the countdown begins for the next Fall Fest – Nov. 7, 2020!
Find out more about Fall Fest here, and check out the Outdoor Knoxville calendar for more outdoor options.
Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come.