New England's most well-known mountain bike festival saw a changing of the guard in recent weeks with the departure of long-time sponsor Pedro's and the signing of new sponsors Kenda USA and Dirt Rag.
The annual festival is held in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, although the first edition of the event was held in the fall of 1995 in Randolph, Vermont. It draws racers primarily from all over New England.
Pedro's cited flat growth in attendance as one reason for the move. Jason Elhardt of Pedro's said to Cyclingnews, "I don't think the lack of growth reflects the state of mountain biking." He also indicated it was time for a change in the direction Pedro's pointed its marketing efforts. "I've only been with Pedro's a few years, but many of us here have fond memories of the festival. Pedro's is now supporting three travelling vans, two in the US and one in Europe. They'll be travelling around and maybe will find our next big event to sponsor."
"It was the right time to move to a new sponsor," said Renee Hicks, Director of Sponsorship & Expo for the festival to Cyclingnews. "We're excited about the new energy that brings."
"The festival is a festival only, with no racing. It is family friendly. Going into its 14th year, many attendees are back with their children," added Hicks, who also said there will be more trails for its second year at the current venue coming up next summer.
The Kenda Bike Festival will next be held at the Apple Tree Hill Organic Farm in Hancock, Massachusetts July 25-27, 2008 - one week following the US National Mountain Bike Championship in Mount Snow, Vermont. In addition to mountain biking, the festival hosts a full slate of road rides.