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Waterloo hopes hosting RAGBRAI stop boosts economic recovery

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 3:21 AM CDT
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - Wednesday night, Waterloo will be the fourth overnight host for RAGBRAI 2021.

“We’re excited to welcome at least 16,000 registered riders, we know there’s going to be some other tagalongs and support vehicles. And so it’s going to be north of 20,000,” said Tavis Hall, Experience Waterloo Executive Director. “We’re really excited to welcome all those folks into our community.”

The city hopes the festival is a chance to help local businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The city has limited the number of outside vendors in hopes to drive riders and attendees to nearby restaurants.

“Our hope has been throughout this entire process to maximize economic impact,” said Hall.

“With everything going on, and that’s went on for the last year and a half. It’ll be great to have people, fresh faces, different things,” said Kristina Miller, from Newton’s Paradise Cafe.

Miller says they are expecting Newtown’s to be busy because of RAGBRAI, but are also dealing with a shortage of staff.

“We’ll have a limited menu just to ease on the kitchen, and we’ll do the best we can to get to everybody in a timely fashion. And we’re going to need patients from our customers,”.

RAGBRAI festivities are set to begin in Waterloo Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Abhay Rawal, a first time RAGBRAI rider from Dubuque, says he is amazed by the generosity of the local communities.

“That was an awesome, awesome experience for me,” said Rawal.

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