Waterloo Preparing For RAGBRAI Visit
Now that Waterloo has been selected as an overnight stop for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa this summer, local officials are making plans to welcome more than 10,000 visitors to the city on July 22.
A celebration and kick-off meeting for anyone interested in being part of this year's RAGBRAI event is scheduled from 4-7 PM Friday at SingleSpeed Brewing, 305 Commercial St., Waterloo. According to Experience Waterloo Executive Director Tavis Hall, volunteers can sign up at the meeting. Hundreds of volunteers are needed for various things like planning, pouring beer and directing RAGBRAI riders to the event sites.
Hall encourages volunteers to bring their creative skills to the sign-up meeting. He says organizers are gathering entertainment ideas and looking at dynamic ways for the RAGBRAI riders to enter Waterloo.
It has been a decade since RAGBRAI was in Waterloo. The world-famous event last came to the city in 2010, when riders stayed overnight in a field behind the Lost Island Waterpark and Isle Casino Hotel. Hall points out that so much has changed in Waterloo since that time and city leaders want to showcase the city's downtown progress during the RAGBRAI stop.
According to Hall, entertainment and related festivities will be centered around the RiverLoop Expo Plaza and Amphitheatre downtown. Preliminary plans have the overnight campers staying at Exchange, Cedar Bend and Tibbitts Parks, and possibly San Souci Island. Hall says specific details on Waterloo's RAGBRAI event likely won't be finalized until March.
According to Hall, RAGBRAI's visit will have an estimated $3 million impact on Waterloo. He says city leaders are excited the event is returning to Waterloo after a 10-year absence.
Waterloo is one of eight cities hosting an overnight stop for this year's RAGBRAI, held July 19-25. Other cities hosting overnight stops are Le Mars, Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Anamosa, Maquoketa and Clinton.
**Here is the full, unedited interview with Experience Waterloo Executive Director Tavis Hall.**