The city of Decorah has been invited to officially participate in RAGBRAI XLV as a result of many Decorah residents and business owners reaching out to RAGBRAI organizers to support the ride, according to local officials.
Riders will pass through Decorah Friday, July 28, during the city’s annual Nordic Fest celebration.
According to the invitation, RAGBRAI has chosen to pass through Decorah because organizers said it is the safest for all participants and they are excited to showcase the beauty of the Decorah area. Decorah will be the first stop on the Friday route following an overnight stop in Cresco.
“We are very excited to find a compromise that allows RAGBRAI and Nordic Fest to overlap. The Fest will allow us to provide a unique and memorable experience for the riders. Luther College will be a fun addition for RAGBRAI’s Friday theme, College Spirit Day,” Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kristina Wiltgen said.
“Because of the excitement in the community over the new hotel, our local breweries and renewed focus on recreation and tourism, there is enthusiasm about this announcement. Having RAGBRAI come through central Winneshiek County will help showcase our area to a whole new group of people,” Decorah City Manager Chad Bird added.
RAGBRAI was last in Decorah in 1999, when the city served as an overnight stop. The timing of the annual RAGBRAI ride and Nordic Fest has made it difficult to plan or host both events. The route for 2017 will bring riders through Decorah during the morning. Decorah will be able to welcome riders and leave most of the day open to traditional Nordic Fest activities.
"Nordic Fest is excited to have RAGBRAI pass through Decorah. This will allow us to showcase Decorah's traditional Nordic Fest to a new audience and a large group of cyclists who may not otherwise attend. The Nordic Fest Board will continue to focus on maintaining the authentic character of the Fest. The traditions of the past 50 years will continue to be upheld," Nordic Fest President Laurie Meinholz.
Bird and Wiltgen will be working to develop a committee to plan for and support RAGBRAI as it passes through Decorah. Anyone interested in participating should call Wiltgen at 563-382-3990 or email kristina@decorahareachamber.com.