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  • Tue July 17 2007
  • Posted Jul 17, 2007
By BETHANY PINT, Courier Correspondent FAIRBANK --- Organizers planning for thousands of cyclists think the one-day visit will help put the community on the map. "We plan to have a warm welcome for the RAGBRAI riders and offer a variety of events and food stands to help them enjoy their short stay in the town of Fairbank," said Mick Kane, events coordinator for the community's RAGBRAI events. Mayor Maurice Welsh also has high hopes for the friendly invasion --- for his own townsfolk and for the guests. "This is exciting for people who normally live in big cities who don't have the opportunity to ride with the Amish and mingle with small-town folks," Welsh said. RAGBRAI, now in its 35th year, will cover 477 miles in seven days. The event enjoys a global reputation and annually attracts up to 20,000 people. For towns along the route, which varies from year to year, that means an opportunity to showcase the best they have to offer. And for residents, that also translates into a lot of planning meetings. The course begins July 22 in Rock Rapids in Northwest Iowa and ends July 28 in Bellevue along the Mississippi River. RAGBRAI hits Fairbank on July 26 after spending the night in Cedar Falls. Along the way that day, riders and support vehicles will pass through Denver, Klinger and Dunkerton and then make their way to Independence for an overnight stay. In Fairbank, planned events include Amish buggy rides and a bus tour around the ethanol plant. Cyclists can listen to Mitchell Pitz and his band or take pictures around the Hawkeye Express rail car and a 1923 vintage fire engine. Riders also will have a variety of choices for food. Denny Frost is in charge of the booth for Immaculate Catholic Church and is busy coordinating sponsors and materials. "We'll have free cold water for the riders to refill their water bottles and stay hydrated," he said. "But we will also have a little wash station so they can get cleaned up a bit and get refreshed." Frost said ConAgra is donating pudding, which will be available to registered riders wearing wristbands. Dan Cutsforth also will be working for the church, as will students in the confirmation class. "We are trying to make it a parish-wide endeavor," Cutsforth said. Kane said volunteers are still needed as Fairbank prepares to welcome the riders. Other ways for those interested to get involved include serving food and helping as tour guides. "Fairbank is a great community with a lot to offer, and this event will give the riders the chance to see our town," Kane said. To volunteer, call Mick Kane at (319) 635-2811, Denny Frost at (319) 635-2117 or Ellen Doese at (319) 231-0555. Contact Bethany Pint at newsroom@wcfcourier.com.

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