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      Hosting RAGBRAI comes with a host of economic advantages

      Fairfield's RAGBRAI theme is "Cirque de Fairfield" and will host riders on July 26.

      The thought of 20,000 visitors streaming through a small Southeast Iowa town in the span of 24 seems daunting, but Fairfield is embracing it.

      When the riders of RAGBRAI pedal into town, Fairfield will experience an economic impact its never seen before.

      "RAGBRAI tells us that in that 24 hour period, we should expect somewhere between 3.5 to 4 million dollars to our community for that 24 hour period," said Dennis Lopp, Executive Co-Chair of Fairfield RAGBRAI. "So it's a very exciting and lucrative opportunity for Fairfield. But we really want to be able to show the community and be able to give them not only a fun, exciting night on the night that they're here, but hopefully leave them with a taste for something so that they can come back to Fairfield and that obviously grows that economic impact long-term."

      The riders will be coming in on County Highway H33, where they'll be met by a "Cirque de Fairfield" welcoming committee to take them into town. But Fairfield's overnight stay will be something both riders and residents can enjoy.

      "The opportunities to volunteer, especially in our beverage cart, and knowing that we have such great entertainment that night that they'll be able to watch and volunteer all at the same time and really get to experience the totality of the event," Lopp said.

      Getting prepared to feed, house and entertain 20,000 people is hard work- but it's already worth it to see the community pulling together.

      "I think the favorite part so far is really just seeing a wide group of people in our community coming together on one common goal, and that is really making sure that Fairfield's represented very well to these 20,000 people, most of which have never been here," Lopp said. "I think that's what's been most exciting and just seeing people really getting involved with our theme and seeing that start to come to life, especially in these next 30 days is what I'm looking most forward to."

      To learn more about Fairfield's RAGBRAI stop or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit their website and Facebook page.