Cedar Rapids RAGBRAI celebration highly anticipated - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids RAGBRAI celebration highly anticipated

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Thursday was the night many riding on RAGBRAI had been looking forward to since the route was announced.

Cedar Rapids is putting on a party unlike any other on the state's tour, and for the city, there's plenty of reason to celebrate.

"It's been really wonderful to see riders come in and been truly impressed on how far we've come since 2008's floods," said Quinn Pettifer with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

Bicyclists like Jim McBee of Murray, Kentucky, say they are impressed how far Cedar Rapids has come since they saw pictures of the devastation in 2008.

"We don't see a lot of damage around.  Everything looks fine," McBee said. 

Thursday night city parks have been transformed to campsites, housing some 15,000 tents.

Some have chosen to spend the night away from downtown and instead at Veteran's Memorial Park to catch a movie.

The stop even featured a kids zone- appealing to families with the hopes of giving future riders a taste of what the event is really about.

"I think it's a great way to get exercise if you're going to go for a bike ride, and when I get older, I'm going to do it," said Matthew Pendergast of Cedar Rapids.

For others, like Rick Paulos the stop is more than just fun.

Paulos is one of eight celebrating riding all 40 years in RAGBRAI and is doing so in the town he lives in. 

"I get to sleep in my bed tonight, which the last time I did that on RAGBRAI was 20 years ago.

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