INDIANOLA, Iowa – The city of Indianola is preparing to host thousands of riders for RAGBRAI.
The city has not hosted the event since 2009.
Indianola city council member Bob Kling said last time the city hosted riders he was impressed with the teamwork from everyone in town.
“The one thing back then that I remember is I was so impressed about how well everybody came together for this event. I mean people worked together who have never worked together before. What I’m seeing this year is the same thing, but even magnified,” Kling said.
Indianola is estimating to have around 30,000 people camp overnight on July 23rd. The town has around 15,000 residents.
City Manager Ryan Waller said they are already known around the world for the Des Moines Metro Opera, this is just another reason why people should come to Indianola.
“There is a lot of misconceptions about our proximity to the metro, so it is a great opportunity to show visitors ‘hey we aren’t that far,’” Waller said.
The city is using every inch of the town to house campers, vendors, and entertainment acts.
Simpson College Director of Alumni Andy English said there will be people utilizing the campus for camping, Bill Buxton Stadium to watch entertainment and host vendors.
“The demographic of RAGBRAI riders, there is a lot of those riders that have high school-aged children. If they are on campus and say you should really check this out, it could be helpful when it comes to recruitment of those students and enrollment,” English said.
National acts ‘Sister Hazel’ and ‘Big Head Todd and The Monsters’ will be performing for free.
Indianola’s theme is Roll into Nola. There will be 15 hand-painted masks on light poles across the city and festive beads for people to wear.
A rider being honored this year is Clarence Pickard. He was on the first ride back in 1973.
“He was the 83-year-old who showed up on his women’s Schwinn bicycle with a pith helmet gonna ride this ride with everybody else and ended up riding the entire way,” Kling said.
Pickard was from Indianola.
Riders will leave Indianola on Wednesday July 24th and head onto Centerville.