As the state’s largest city, Des Moines watched in the past as smaller cities across the state got the chance to host the riders, visitors and the dollars RAGBRAI brings.
It’s been sixteen years since RAGBRAI toured through Des Moines and this year, the city hopes to make a big impression.
With more than ten thousand riders from around the state and the nation camping out in the capital city, the announcement means a lot for businesses.
It’s only 174 days until this year’s RAGBRAI.
“Des Moines hasn`t hosted since 1997, who wouldn`t be excited about 15 thousand people spending the night with you in the middle of July,” says President and CEO of Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greg Edwards. “So we`re really, really thrilled with this.”
And a lot has changed in 16 years.
“I think that folks will be pleasantly surprised on how the East Village has evolved and what we have to offer here,” commented Karen Davis of Zombie Burger.
When an event like this rolls into town it brings a lot of business.
“It’s incredible, you know not only to the majority of the people are gonna camp, stay in homes but they also fill up a lot of hotel rooms, they`re going to be out and about eating in the restaurants,” added Edwards.
Hotels in town are already taking reservations 6 months in advance and restaurants, like Zombie Burger in the East Village, have begun to plan ahead.
“We`ll staff appropriately. That will be prime patio weather and we have a fantastic large patio and we will be sure to maximize all seating capacity on the patio.”
Almost 70 percent of the riders come from out of state. This much attention to the downtown area is huge.
“A lot of these people come from out of state too, so this is their first impression of the capital city and the metro area so we really want to shine and show them great hospitality.” Edwards pledged.
Something that Des Moines is ready to show off after so long.
The exact location where the riders will camp has not been decided yet. Des Moines is the third overnight stop on the route on July 23rd.
The overnight stops in order are Harlan, Perry, Des Moines;, Knoxville, Oskaloosa and Fairfield.