NEWTON, Iowa – It’s been over a decade since Newton hosted RAGBRAI and the city is ready to house thousands of riders.
Community Marketing Manager for Newton Danielle Rogers said the last time the city saw RAGBRAI was back in 2006.
Newton is next Wednesday’s overnight stop for the 2018 route. People will camp across the city in places like Maytag Park and residents' backyards.
“We aren’t being forced to house anyone. Some people were comfortable with letting them in their homes, others were just looking for a backyard and maybe access to a garden hose and an electrical outlet and they will tent camp in their backyard,” Rogers said.
The city expects a minimum of 15,000 riders to camp overnight, doubling Newton’s population.
Rogers said the city has been meeting with local law enforcement and over a dozen committees to make sure everything is ready for the riders.
“Our chief of police has worked with surrounding communities, and so we will have some extra law enforcement in town on Wednesday July 25th,” Rogers said.
The streets surrounding the city’s Capitol Square will be shut down for vendors, entertainment and events.
“And just our Iowa nice. I think Newton has this atmosphere and personality of being very welcoming and being very open to others,” Rogers said.
The theme for Newton is Aloha Mahalo, meaning hello goodbye and thank you.