Like it or not, the yearly RAGBRAI bike ride is strolling into Appanoose County and Centerville next week.
With the ride, sponsored by the Des Moines Register, comes entertainment and food options not normally seen in Centerville. Though it will also triple Appanoose County's population for a night, with as many as 20,000 people staying near Centerville.
Here's what local citizens should know ahead of the July 24-25 visit:
Beginning 10 p.m. Tuesday, July 23 the Centerville square will be closed to parking and traffic.
Beginning 6 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24 both sides of the following streets will be no parking zones: North 10th St. from Washington to Madison; Madison Street from Main to Fourth; North Fourth from Madison to Franklin; North 1st St. from Washington to Indian Hills Community College; North Main Street from Washington to Franklin; Franklin Street from North Main to North Haynes; North Haynes Avenue to North 18th Street; State Street from Maple to North 10th; Washington Street from North Haynes to North 1st.
Beginning 6 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24 the west side of the following streets will be no parking zones: South Main Street from Maple to Green Street; Drake Avenue from Green Street to Maple.
At 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 25 most or all temporary parking restrictions and closures will be lifted.
The Centerville square will be a hot spot for entertainment, which is designed not just for RAGBRAI riders and support staff, but the general community to enjoy as well.
A Family Fun Zone will open on the square at 3 p.m., including large inflatables, games, a human contortionist, a caricature artist and more.
At 6 p.m., the band Fast Henry will perform followed by a 42 Romeo, a band of military members, at 7 p.m. At 8:15 p.m., the two bands will begin trading songs in a battle-of-the-band style performance. That will last until 9 p.m. when The Pork Tornadoes take the stage.
The Pork Tornadoes are a cover band playing top 40s hits as well as songs from the 80s and 90s, mixing rock and pop and even mixing in some blues. Songs like Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, Justin Bieber’s As Long As You Love Me, Maroon 5’s Harder To Breathe, The Killers’ Mr. Brightside, Green Day’s Basketcase, Prince’s Purple Rain, and Ray Charles’ I Got A Woman are in their repertoire.
All of the entertainment is free, and there will be a beer/beverage garden and food available.
Centerville citizens and RAGBRAI-related visitors can enjoy free shuttle service on Wednesday.
10-15 Transit is providing a free shuttle to all citizens and visitors during RAGBRAI’s visit on Wednesday, July 24, from 10 a.m.-midnight. The shuttle provides stops and pickups around town during the day.
Shuttle stops and pickup points include the former Pete Harkness building, Indian Hills Community College, the Appanoose County Fairgrounds, the Centerville Square, Terry Street and Main Street, Lakeview Elementary School, and the AllPlay Family Sports Complex.
Many vendors will be in town, offering a day of additional food options for the community. There are at least a dozen out-of-area vendors who will be in town. They include a Mediterranean grill and Asian, Thailand and Mexican vendors.
Riders will come from Indianola, entering Appanoose County on Highway J18, then turning south onto Highway S70 near Rathbun Lake. They'll turn onto Highway J5T then turn onto Highway T14 toward Mystic southbound to Highway 2. Riders will then take Highway 2 into Centerville, where they will turn onto East State Street. Once they arrive at 10th Street in Centerville, riders will be directed to their camping locations. Campgrounds include Indian Hills Community College, the Appanoose County Fairgrounds, the Morgan Cline Park, Lakeview Elementary School and the All Play Family Sports Complex.
When riders leave on Thursday, July 25, they will take Highway 2 from Centerville to Bloomfield, meaning those who travel that road, particularly during their Thursday morning commute, might be smart to find an alternative route. Highways are not closed during RAGBRAI, but delays can be expected. Once riders get to Bloomfield, they will get on Highway J40 until they reach Lebanon, then take Highway V64 north to Libertyville before their final jaunt on Highway H43 into Fairfield, their next overnight stop.
WHEN WILL THEY ARRIVE?
According to RAGBRAI, riders average about 10 miles per hour under ideal conditions. Riders face an 84.3-mile trip, from Indianola to Centerville. Typically riders begin to depart for their journey between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. With that, riders could begin streaming in by 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, until the early evening hours.
Kyle Ocker can be reached at email@example.com or by calling the newsroom at 641-856-6336. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.