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RAGBRAI, with thousands of cyclists passing through Kalona on Friday, July 27, will cause some disruptions for downtown residents and businesses.
At a meeting on Thursday, local RAGBRAI organizers detailed the route and street closures for the event.
“It’s a matter of locking down downtown and providing a safe environment for the bikes and the vendors,” Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said.
That lockdown will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, in order to set up vendor tents.
Fourth Street will be closed from B to C avenues; B Avenue will be closed between Fourth and Sixth streets; and Fifth Street will be closed from A Place to C Avenue.
Those closures will remain in effect until late Friday afternoon.
Riders will come into town from the west on Hwy. 22 after passing through Wellman. They will be diverted south on Hwy. 1, then east on B Avenue toward downtown.
“Once they hit B Avenue, they will be welcomed by the Mid-Prairie marching band,” Schlabaugh said, adding that riders will get off their bikes once they reach downtown at Fourth Street.
Currently, there are 34 vendors signed up for the event. Vendor tents will primarily be set up on the north side of B Avenue.
Three of the vendors will have beer gardens: Hard Luck Café, Kalona Brewery and Tuscan Moon. Schlabaugh said that alcohol will only be allowed within those beer gardens.
A music stage will be on the corner of B Avenue and Fourth Street by Tequila Grill. Schlabaugh said that several acts are scheduled to perform on the stage.
With Kalona being the designated meeting town for the day, support vehicles must also be accommodated.
Schlabaugh explained that support vehicles will be routed east on Hwy. 22 to three locations: the park, Mid-Prairie Middle School and Mid-Prairie East Elementary School.
“The Historical Village will provide a shuttle from those locations to the dropoff at the KCTC lot downtown,” he said.
He added that employees of downtown businesses may also use the shuttle.
Schlabaugh encouraged businesses to stay open on RAGBRAI day.
“Shutting up your doors and saying ‘I don’t want to be here today’ isn’t going to be good for anybody,” he said.