MASON CITY – Volunteers and officials were putting the final touches on Mason City last night in preparation for thousands RAGBRAI riders and others now entering town.
The big stage in the public parking lot west of City Hall was constructed, and the lights and sound were being tested well into the night. It was rumored that Brett Michaels was in a hospital, but no word has come of any postponement of his show scheduled for Wednesday night – he suffers from acute diabetes. Warrant will open.
The second, small stage was set up as well in the plaza across from Lorados bar. That stage will feature more local acts and start earlier.
Downtown bars and restaurants were stocking up and making final preparations. Barbecue grills were wheeled out, bottled water unloaded, beer trucks were parked. Sings were in many windows welcoming and inviting anyone to come in for deals on meals and drinks. Lights were hung in front of a brew pub for outdoor activities on the sidewalk. In the back, a trailer with beer spigots was poised for action.
At the Manor, people were less-enthusiastic.
“We’ll be hiding in our rooms,” a group of ladies said with an uneasy chuckle, when asked if they were ready to party with the bike riders Wednesday night.
On 1st Street NW, the main route bikers will take to Central Park as they enter town, a large banner between Parker’s Woods and West Park was hoisted over the street, greeting riders. Art was painted on the nearby bridge with chalk. The newly-opened liquor store at the Monroe Avenue corner was freshly-stocked with beverages, and business was picking up.
Trash receptacles and signs were scattered all over the camping areas and downtown area. The public parking lots were to be cleared of cars by today to make room for the ensuing celebration.
More and more cars, trucks, vans and RV’s with with bikes on the back and unfamiliar license plates were rolling into town as late as 11:00 PM.
Some are calling this event one of the biggest days in the city’s history.
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