With the support of the city council expressed at a meeting earlier this month, the City of Pella is among the communities that have submitted bids to be included on the 2011 RAGBRAI route. The Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau submitted the application, and CVB Director Jill Vandevoort says it was important to have the city’s support on an event that will require many city resources.
Vandevoort also says the community’s experience hosting Tulip Time should help the city greatly in organizing a large-scale event like hosting RAGBRAI.
“Because we do host the Tulip Festival each year, we have a lot of non-profits [and] we have an amazing amount of volunteers that already assist us during that three day event,” said Vandevoort. “We’re going to pull a lot of volunteers from the community, but also look for some assistance from the [Tulip Time] Steering Committee and just have some of those things lined up and into play so it won’t take as much time and planning as it would for a community that doesn’t have a large festival each year.”
She adds that hosting RAGBRAI would also provide a great deal of exposure for Pella to a new and different audience.
“The media opportunity throughout the RAGBRAI event each year becomes bigger and bigger. It’s not just an Iowa event – it’s a national event – but there are an increasing amount of people who come from all over the world to participate,” said Vandevoort. “I think RAGBRAI has done a lot of changing for the better over the years, and it’s something that people really want to participate in.”
Pella is requesting to be an overnight host site for the ride, which will travel through southern Iowa in 2011. Pella hasn’t hosted RAGBRAI since the early 1980s.