MUSCATINE, Iowa – RAGBRAI will end in Muscatine for the sixth time this year, and over 30 residents are working on committees and making plans for the riders to enjoy their entry into Muscatine.
Janet Morrow, Director of Membership and Marketing for the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ky Cochran, Chair of the Muscatine Hospitality Committee for RAGBRAI, provided updates for residents at an informational community meeting on Tuesday.
Morrow said one important reminder for residents is the riders that will be coming to Muscatine before the ride.
“All of you know that RAGBRAI is coming here on July 30, but what many people don’t realize, there will be lots of people coming here on July 22. There will be around 800 campers at the high school, and the Muskie Booster Club is working with us. They leave their cars here, and then they get on a bus and head for the other side of the state,” Morrow said.
While more visitors are a good thing for Muscatine, Morrow said that more volunteers will be needed.
“This gives us two opportunities to welcome visitors to our community… the Muskie Booster Club has 100 volunteers for parking, camping, food, and showers, and of course well be looking for more,” she said.
On the 22nd, Morrow said that shuttle services may be offered from the high school to the downtown, but some of the planning and finalization of details is ongoing.
“It takes a lot of planning; this is collaboration among GMCCI, the City of Muscatine, the Muscatine Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Great River Days, among many others,” Morrow said.
She said that Great River Days has been working to ensure the success of both events, and will share the Muscatine riverfront with RAGBRAI, and Kerry Keller said that Great River Days will begin at the usual time, 9 a.m., and the main difference this year will be the lack of a parade.
“As soon as we got the notification that we were going to have RAGBRAI on the same weekend as Great River Days, we sat down and made a plan. Great River Days will be from Cedar Street toward the bridge, and the anchor statue to the playground is going to be RAGBRAI,” Morrow said.
The current plan, Morrow said, was to bring the riders down Hershey Avenue to Iowa Avenue, down to the river; however, more information will become available as the road closure plans are finalized. The Pearl City Station will serve as an information center.
Ky Cochran said that there were many submissions for the theme contest, and currently a kids’ art contest is ongoing to find young art to help decorate Muscatine.
“Students from kindergarten through the fifth grade can draw, paint, or sculpt something, they are due by June 3, and the winner will be announced at the June 7 town meeting and we will use the submissions to decorate the town. There will also be a best yard contest, encouraging residents and businesses along the route into town to decorate their yards in the Muscatine theme,” Cochran said.
T-shirts are for sale for $10 for sizes small through extra-large, and $15 for double and triple XL, and several businesses in downtown will offer discounts for those wearing their RAGBRAI Muscatine t-shirts.
Residents have many volunteer opportunities, and Cochran said that she hopes more people will become involved.
“Residents can host riders, there are a ton of volunteer opportunities, you can greet riders, direct them to where they need to be, give them information, there’s stuff to do ahead of the day as well, or help sell t-shirts,” she said.
“It’s been fun to watch the number of people who’ve engaged in this process… and all the pieces of this puzzle are coming together,” Greg Jenkins, President and CEO of GMCCI, said.