RAGBRAI prepares to ride through county

With RAGBRAI perparing to ride through the county this week, towns are getting ready for their first time hosting by closing streets and hosting a variety of vendors. The bikers will make their first stop in Keota, then on to Wellman, Kalona and Riverside before moving up to Johnson County.

Leaving Harper, the riders will come through Keota Friday morning. Beginning at 5 a.m. on Friday, July 27, Broadway Ave. from Jefferson until Keokuk Washington Rd. will be closed. The road is expected to be opened again by 1 p.m. at the latest on the same day. Central Empire Wrestling will be hosting matches beginning at 7 a.m. that morning.

From Keota, the bikers will make the 13.9 mile jaunt to Wellman. Beginning Wednesday, July 25, Second, Third and Fourth Streets between Seventh and Ninth avenues will be closed as well as Eighth Ave. south of Highway 22. The closures will continue through Friday and additional roads will be closed as needed. The town has never hosted RAGBRAI before but is excited for the opportunity. They will host over 25 vendors and live musical entertainment. One thing for sure is they won?t run out of food, especially pie. ?One of the biggest things we?ve got is the Rotary Club is bringing in 600 Amish, home-baked pies,? said Utility Clerk Cindy Thrapp. The pies are part of a fundraiser to raise money for new park equipment. ?We?re pretty excited and hoping that goes really well,? she said.

After leaving Wellman, the journey will continue into Kalona. Beginning the evening of Thursday, July 26, B Avenue from Highway 1 all the way to Sixth St. and Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Streets from C Avenue to A Place will be closed. They will be re-opened by 5 a.m. Friday, July 27. The community will host 36 vendors, 28 of which will be selling food, live music, activities and three beer tents sponsored by local businesses. ?We?re nervously optimistic; not having an event that size we?ve hosted there?s a little bit of nervousness for it, but our community is excited for it? said City Admininstrator Ryan Schlabaugh.

After a 6.9 mile ride, the bikers will arrive in Riverside. Riverside will not be closing any roads, but will be detouring traffic as the main events will be taking place along Highway 22. They also will be hosting bands and the fire station will be selling food. A handful of vendors and a beer and wine tent will be in the park along with the newly dedicated statue of Captan Kirk. The town has not seen RAGBRAI come through for over 25 years and are excited to have them back.