The Fairfield City Council approved granting $20,000 to the Fairfield RAGBRAI planning committee during its meeting Monday night.
Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau assistant director Terry Baker spoke to the council members to request the funds. She said according to RAGBRAI officials, 10,000 people are officially expected to be in Fairfield for the overnight stop July 25, but unofficially, it could be more like 20,000 when support team members, visitors, unofficial riders and others are counted.
Baker said RAGBRAI brings in $24 million along its route in Iowa.
“This is the largest tourist event we can do, and we’ve jumped on board,” she said. “We know what to do now” since many of the same people who helped plan the RAGBRAI overnight stop in 2013 are involved again this year.
Baker said the city’s $20,000 donation will help fund the event, which can be even more successful than last time RAGBRAI stayed overnight in Fairfield.
According to Baker, RAGBRAI brought in a “very generous profit” six years ago, which was given back to the community in the form of grants to churches, Little League and nonprofit groups. Council member Michael Halley, who is one of the four Fairfield RAGBRAI 2019 executive chairs, added that some of the profit was used to replant trees in Central Park and place bicycle racks along the trail system.
The profit is made from vendor fees, T-shirt sales and beverage sales, Baker explained.
Mayor Ed Malloy said the $20,000 donation for the 2019 event will come from the city’s Local Option Sales Tax, the same as the donation did in 2013. He told Baker the funds will be available July 1; the fiscal year 2019-20 budget begins July 1.
Council member Doug Flournoy motioned to approve the $20,000 donation from the LOST funds; Paul Gandy seconded, and the motion carried.
Each overnight community establishes a theme for their event, and this year’s Fairfield committee has selected the theme “Geared for Weird,” a steampunk/glow party mashup. Josie Hannes of Josie Hannes Design is behind the creative logo which includes elements of the steampunk genre such as air ships, gears, and steam powered bikes.
According to Halley, nearly 50 people are serving on various organizing committees and are meeting weekly to arrange details like electrical needs, camping, food and vendors and more. Their goal is to make this a successful event, not only for the riders, but for the community, too, he said.
Individuals wanting more information about the event can visit the group’s Facebook page, Fairfield RAGBRAI 2019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Fairfield RAGBRAI website will be live soon and will have all the details about the event, including ways that local residents can participate and help with the event.