By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — The Dunn County Board has approved the North Star Bicycle Festival professional men’s and women’s bicycle race to be held in Dunn County June 14.
The North Star Bicycle Festival was formerly known as the Nature Valley Grand Prix, said Jerry Porter, the new chair of the planning committee for the Menomonie stage of the bike race, at the Dunn County Board’s February 19 meeting.
The goal of the race is to develop cycling in the Midwest, he said.
According to the bicycle festival’s website, Nature Valley, a division of General Mills, recently made drastic cuts in competitive event sponsorships, including cycling.
The North Star Bicycle Festival will benefit the Children’s Lighthouse of Minnesota, which is a pediatric hospice home, Porter said.
There are only three other facilities like the Children’s Lighthouse in North America, he noted, that offer services to families with terminally ill children at no charge.
The Nature Valley Grand Prix/North Star Bicycle Festival has been in operation for 13 years, and Dunn County is known as one of the finest cycling destinations in the Midwest, Porter said.
The bicycle race will cover an 82-mile rural route on town roads and county highways.
According to the background information included with the resolution, the Dunn County Board must approve what is known as the “Menomonie Road Race” as part of the permit process if the event is to be held in Dunn County. State law allows such special events but the events must be permitted and approved by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
The North Star Bicycle Festival is a professional bicycle stage race that runs in different segments.
Other segments of the race will be held in downtown St. Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis and Stillwater.
This year will mark the fifth time that one stage of the event has been held in Dunn County.
The Dunn County Board unanimously approved the resolution allowing the North Star Festival professional bicycle race to be held in Dunn County.
The rural part of the race course includes the Knapp, Downing and Boyceville areas of Dunn County.