Pine Needle Music and Mountain Bike Festival this weekend

Photo courtesy Pine Needle Music and Mountain Bike Festival.

Hundreds of mountain bikers and music fans will descend on Little Red River Park Sunday for the ninth annual Pine Needle Music and Mountain Bike Festival.

The festival, which has grown each year it has been held, is about more than just having a good time. Since its inception, the event has raised about $52,000.

In its early years, the festival donated its proceeds to the Rotary Trail, to KidSport and to buy automated external defibrillators for two local schools. But for the last few years, everything raised by the event has gone towards improving the park where it’s held.

“About three or four years ago, we decided that all of the money raised from the festival would go towards Little Red River Park,” said Mike Horn, one of the event’s organizers.

‘This year, we’ve designated some funds to upgrade the trial lighting from the old technology to LED lights. All of the money raised from last year and this year will go towards that project.”

The Prince Albert Ski Club installed lights around the cross country trail system in 1994.

“It’s time to do a little bit of upgrading,” Horn said.

The festival itself, he said has grown in all aspects.

“Every year, we get more mountain bikers. Last year we had 150, which was a record”, he said.

“‘We’re seeing more traffic coming out just to enjoy the entertainment and the kids’ event. When (people) hear Pine Needle Festival, they are starting to know what it is, which is kind of neat.”

This year, n addition to the six-hour mountain bike marathon and the music acts gracing the stage, the event has Roger Boucher coming to do magic and will display the Western Hockey League trophies won this year by the Prince Albert Raiders.

“We’re always looking to add stuff to the event to make it bigger and better,” Horn said.”

The festival also has food from Funky Fresh, the return of the kids’ wilderness run and bouncy castles.

This year’s music lineup features bands from near and far.  The lineup includes Method to Madness, Oscar’s Hollow, Hattie, The Great Fuss, COntafact and Dirty and The Perks. It will be emceed by Kelly Taylor and will feature special guest Jake Diehl.

The mountain bike loop measures 6.2 km in length. Teams of cyclists will compete to see how many laps they can complete over the six hours.

Riders are encouraged to collect pledges to help the festival raise money for the park.

“We’re looking forward to a really good day,” Horn said.

For more information, visit https://www.pineneedlebikefestival.com