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Okoboji is ready to host RAGBRAI

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OKOBOJI, Iowa — While Okoboji and the Iowa Great Lakes are always popular tourist destinations in the summer, the area expects to receive an influx of new visitors Sunday thanks to The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). The overnight stay at the lakes marks the first time in the race’s 42-year history it has descended upon the area.

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Special events and entertainment committee co-chair, Bethany Huseman, said her group is prepared for Sunday.

“Ready or not, it’s here,” Huseman asserted. “We’re ready. Things are falling into place.”

Aside from the committee’s schedule of events, Huseman said, the region offers many other activities riders should take advantage of. Access to the lakes makes Okoboji a unique destination for both relaxation and entertainment opportunities.

Before the cyclists pull into town, they will pass through a number of small towns in northwest Iowa. Starting in Rock Valley, the path takes riders through Hull, Boyden, Sheldon, Melvin, May City and Milford before stopping in Okoboji.

May City RAGBRAI committee member Curt Van Engen said his community is ready as well. The city will offer eight food vendors, musical entertainment and a beer garden. Van Engen estimates the bulk of the riders will pass through between 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday. According to Van Engen, this is the second time May City has been a pass-through on the route. The ride concludes July 26, in Guttenberg, Iowa.

Here is the schedule of Sunday’s events in Okoboji’s Preservation Plaza:

8 a.m.-noon: Ry Guys Stand Up Paddle Board Rentals

9 a.m-5 p.m.: Okoboji Radio Campus Cruiser plays summer party tunes

10 a.m-9 p.m.: American Family Insurance Booth open

11 a.m.-9 p.m.: Arnolds Park Amusement Park open

Noon: Beer Garden open

Noon: Bingo

Noon-5 p.m.: Free Hydro Bike Rides

Noon-5 p.m.: Tug of War and Casting Contest

Noon-5 p.m.: Okoboji Radio and RE*BE hosting “Widdle Your Middle” party tunes and prizes

Noon-6 p.m.: Beer Dunk Tank

5 p.m.: Live Music: Hairball w/FlashMob opening. Free to the public, fireworks to follow

5:30 p.m.: Hairball Costume Contest

Daily Globe Reporter Robin Baumgarn may be reached at 376-7323.

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