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Coralville gears up for RAGBRAI

BY STACEY GONZALEZ | JUNE 18, 2015 5:00 AM

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Coralville officials say they are well prepared to host the 15,000 to 20,000 bikers who will come through during this year’s RAGBRAI event as venues and events are finalized.

“We are feeling good,” said Laurie Haman, vice president of the Coralville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “We have a great community; we host RAGBRAI about every five years, and we always have good reception to the event. We’ve been planning since early February.”

RAGBRAI is an Iowa tradition that has been around since 1973.

This year’s RAGBRAI will feature Coralville as one of its overnight stops.  The even will start on July 19 and continue through July 25, ending in Davenport.

According to the RAGBRAI history records, this marks the fifth time RAGBRAI will head to Coralville, the last time being in 2011.

Haman said that the only struggle Coralville has faced is recruiting volunteers for the day.

“We need 550 volunteers for the actual day,” she said. “The main concern is making people aware of the volunteer opportunities.”

However, while Coralville might have experience handling RAGBRAI, this will be the first time for the Iowa River Landing, and this year, the landing is where it’s all happening.

The landing will host numerous activities for the riders and the general public, including a concert by the rock band Cheap Trick.

This concert will be free for people wearing the RAGBRAI wristband and $10 for the general public. In addition to the concert, there will be other activities for the public to enjoy.

The landing will feature various shopping and dining options, some of which will be showcased by RAGBRAI coming to Coralville. These include Backpocket Brewery and 30hop. 

Robert Bolton, the taproom manager at Backpocket, said the details of the activities they will be hosting aren’t completely worked out but will most likely include a beer garden.

30hop will have live music and activities on its patio.

The theme of the Coralville overnight stop is Hollywood, Haman said, which means riders and their friends will be given celebrity treatment.

There will be a 200-foot long red carpet on Ninth Street near the landing, and the whole area will be decked out to give the feel of Hollywood. 

Charity will also be a focus of the overnight stop, and the Coralville Community Fund, the Coralville Veterans’ Memorial Committee, and Coralville schools have partnered with RAGBRAI to receive proceeds from the festivities. 

The next day, when the riders travel from Coralville to Davenport, the route will go through the Iowa City area, specifically past Kinnick Stadium.

“After that, the riders will head on over to Iowa Avenue, where there will be a type of farmers’ market set up,” Haman said.

TJ Juskiewicz, the director of RAGBRAI said he’s happy about the return to Coralville, especially because of the Iowa River Landing. 

“There’s been a lot of growth with the Iowa River Landing, and it’s a great place to highlight,” Juskiewicz said.


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