It's no small feat to host 10,000 guests and their support crews, but Anamosa is excited to once again be an overnight town for the 48th Annual RAGBRAI on Thursday, July 29. Host planning actually started in early 2020, and with the pandemic putting a halt on public activities, riders and organizers are eager for a successful, fun ride.

The Des Moines Register has RAGBRAI planning down to a science with several committees set up with specific tasks. One of the committees that local residents will be familiar with long before the first tires dip in the Missouri River is the Hospitality Committee. The Hospitality Committee has five primary areas of responsibility.

1. Stimulating community spirit and host a town meeting.

2. Order and sell town t-shirts.

3. Community beautification prior to the ride.

4. Decorations for the day of the ride.

5. Ambassadors to welcome and bid farewell.

The couple that are the inspiration for the committee's overnight town theme: "Size Matters, and we like 'em BIG"– Seward Johnson's "God Bless America" 25-foot-tall “American Gothic” couple booked a return trip this month to Anamosa. The sculpture was a huge draw for Anamosa the last time it was here; the RAGBRAI executive committee has made keeping it here it's number one goal, and all proceeds raised will go towards that goal.

Online t-shirt sales are underway; there are two designs to choose from and will be available the day of the couple's arrival. Since RAGBRAI will be here on a Thursday, the Hospitality Committee is working with local businesses on "T-Shirt Thursdays" specials, with discounts or deals for patrons wearing either shirt design. Watch the Anamosa RAGBRAI 2021 Facebook page for upcoming details.

The Hospitality Committee is looking to decorate the town in a BIG way! Do you have a giant stuffed panda? Place it in your window! A rocking chair that fits the whole family? Proudly display it in your yard! Each week, we will feature BIG displays on our Facebook page to show our guests how excited we are to host them, and being the Pumpkin Capital of Iowa, we hope our guests return in October to see the giant pumpkins at Pumpkinfest. To help us build big fun during a time when the price of building materials are so high, we will gladly accept donations of large cardboard boxes, plywood, fencing, construction materials…if you can imagine it, we will build it! For donations, contact the Anamosa Chamber 462-4879.

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