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In two weeks time, Iowa City will welcome thousands of cyclists into the city as one of RAGBRAI's overnight stops.

The 2018 RAGBRAI kicks off July 22nd, but riders won't make it to Iowa City until the 27th. The city expects to host 15,000-20,000 riders on that Friday as it hosts the annual event for the first time in over 40 years.

Planning the event has been a joint effort by the city of Iowa, the Downtown District, Think Iowa City, and the University of Iowa.

Nick Pfeiffer, the Think Iowa City Director of Marketing and Communications, said they're gaining good momentum heading into the last two weeks of planning.

"We're starting to feel really good. We've had our first volunteer training just last night. We had several hundred people out getting their spots filled," he said.

On Friday, the city announced it'll be hosting a "Book it to Iowa City Bash" downtown in a block party-style. The theme is a nod to the city's literary culture.

"By having a block party-style of event, it really brings the customers to the businesses that are supported here locally," Pfeiffer said.

Camping for RAGBRAI will be located at City Park. Shuttles will take RAGBRAI participants downtown where eight blocks will be blocked off. The city held its second annual Block Party event on June 23, an event that drew 42,000 people. With the success of the event, the city decided to use a similar plan for RAGBRAI.

"We'll have one big main stage and one secondary stage. There will be games out for people to play," Pfeiffer said. "We've got a DJ competition and we'll have a break-dancing competition."

Musical entertainment includes The JayHawks, Blitzen Trapper, Elizabeth Moen, and James Tutson and the Rollback.

In keeping with the block party format, the event will allow for open containers. Beer, wine coolers, hard lemonade, and hard cider can be consumed anywhere in the eight blocks from noon to midnight. People will have the option to purchase the drinks from local bars and restaurants, or at a beer tent.

In return, the city expects to get a little boost from the turnout.


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