RAGBRAI comes to Fairfield
Fairfield has been chosen as the final overnight stop on RAGBRAI this summer. The announcement was made Saturday night at the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party in Des Moines. RAGBRAI will come to Fairfield on Friday, July 26.
Terry Baker, assistant director of the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau, attended the Route Announcement Party. She said she was very pleased upon hearing the news, which did not come as a shock.
“When you consider how many great things we have, I was not surprised we were chosen,” she said. “We have progressed in entertainment. We have the Convention Center, and we have the trail system, which attracts a lot of people who ride bikes.”
Baker said the RAGBRAI route committee selects communities based on a number of factors. One of those is how easy they are to get in and out of. After all, 10,000 cyclists will be going through town that day.
“Obviously, they want to know if a community can handle this number of riders,” Baker said.
RAGBRAI caps the number of full-week riders at 8,500. Cyclists who aren’t interested in the long haul but who would like to participate can obtain a day-pass, of which there are 1,500. Baker said that there could be about 4,000 additional people who come to Fairfield in support vehicles, bringing the total to 14,000.
Hosting an overnight stop is such a monumental undertaking that numerous committees will be formed to manage the crowd that will descend on Fairfield this summer. Baker envisions a committee for the beverage garden, a publicity committee, a public safety committee, and many more.
RAGBRAI officials will be in Fairfield next week and will be here on a weekly basis.
“They want everything to be wonderful,” Baker said. “We haven’t done this for so long. We need to know what their expectations are to make this event awesome.”
Fairfield was most recently an overnight stop in 1997. The city was considered for an overnight stop a few years ago, but Baker said the route committee passed on Fairfield because the downtown was under construction. She said that when Ottumwa got the nod the last time it went through the southern part of Iowa, she was pretty sure that Fairfield would get the honor the next time around.