Washington prepares for RAGBRAI as organizers embark on pre-ride - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Washington prepares for RAGBRAI as organizers embark on pre-ride

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The streets of Washington, Iowa are quiet on a Saturday afternoon, but come July, they'll be filled for RAGBRAI.

"The whole town comes together and they have lots of, you know, food booths and I guess they have a beer tent," said  Nancy Gladon, co-owner of the Country Market in Washington.

Washington hasn't been a host city for the week-long bike ride in 16 years.

But Gladon remembers the excitement well.

"Our children were real small and we had a great time with it," she said. "The kids loved it because there were so many different people, so many different cultures."

The city got a taste of the annual event when organizers came through for a pre-ride.

"They're doing a safety check on the roads that they've selected," said Ed Raber, a member of the RAGBRAI Washington Advisory Committee.

The city expects 20,000 people downtown when RAGBRAI passes through Washington.

That's a higher number than the city's population.

"It's nice for us to be able to come and showcase our home town," local Rodney Stogdill said.

Many of the cyclists travel from other states and countries.

And when RAGBRAI hits Washington, that's when the party begins.

"The entire downtown, and a little bit off the square is gonna be the beer garden," Raber said.

And whether they're attending the beer garden or looking forward to the business it'll bring, Washington is ready for RAGBRAI.

"Washington is really, it's blessed to get to have it again because it brings so much activity to our town," Gladon said.

There are eight host cities in all.

RAGBRAI kicks off in Glenwood July 23rd and ends in Muscatine July 30th.

Riders traditionally end the ride by dipping their tires in the Mississippi River.

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