RAGBRAI Brings Big Economic Impact to Small Towns

By Sara Stewart, Reporter

TAMA COUNTY - On Wednesday, RAGBRAI rolls into Tama County.

Business in small towns like Tama and Toledo normally don't see big crowds.

It's the 4th year Jean Evangelista and her family is using Ragbrai as their vacation.

"But actually it's kind of a cheap vacation. Lodging as you can see is really cheap," says Jean Evangelista, a part of the support crew.

And while it's a cost effective vacation for travelers, it's good business for the towns they stop in.

"You patron the different restaurants and vendors along the way," she says.

And businesses in the small town of Tama have been preparing for a long time.

"We're setting up to sell hamburgers, hot dogs, we have ice cream. So anything that's needed is what we're trying to do," says Dennis Noe, of the Ice Cream Depot.

It's the Ice Cream Depot's first Ragbrai. It's cooking for 500 on Wednesday, but not sure how many to expect.

"People are getting excited, hopefully they'll be a patch downtown here and all the business owners in Tama are looking forward to any sort of tourism we can get," says Noe.

The volunteer fire department is hoping to peddle enough ice to raise a lot of funds.

"We're hoping to sell all the ice-we have a semi-load," says Steve Bishop, of the Volunteer Fire Department.

It's a way small towns can make big profits, and they're hoping to bring some bikers back for seconds.

The last time Tama and Toledo hosted a stop in Ragbrai was back in 1993.
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