Salem city council prepares for RAGBRAI

RAGBRAI to pass through Salem from Fairfield to Burlington July 26

GTNS file photo

RAGBRAI will cruise through Salem  on Friday, July 26, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.
GTNS file photo RAGBRAI will cruise through Salem on Friday, July 26, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

SALEM — The City of Salem is preparing to accept vendors for The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa to set up shop in the meeting town of Salem on Friday, July 26, from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The city council approved the first reading of an ordinance designating co-chairs and sub-chairs of the committee to set rules, regulations and fees for food vendors, street vendors and temporary stands during RAGBRAI. The council approved the ordinance during a city council meeting on Tuesday, May 7.

The ordinance requires two more readings, with final approval during a regular meeting on Tuesday, July 2.

The ordinance states that any person, group, organization, corporation or entity not doing regular business in Salem during RAGBRAI will be allowed to operate only by obtaining a permit from the City Clerk after approval from the RAGBRAI Committee. It also states that all booth permits will be required to be in compliance with the Iowa Department of Health and any required registration for sales tax in Henry County and Iowa.

The ordinance gives the city the ability to approve street closings or blockings as requested by the RAGBRAI Committee to maintain orderly traffic.

The ordinance will be in effect on July 26 from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The council is also planning on approving a “beverage garden” area where people of age many consume alcoholic beverages. They discussed the beverage garden to be contained to Salem City Park.

The Iowa Craft Beer Tent might set up shop in Salem during the Friday of RAGBRAI, said Joel Garretson, RAGBRAI Committee chair. Garretson said if they do stop in Salem, they typically donate $2,000 to $3,000 to the community.

Garretson also presented the council with a draft of where vendors will be able to set up shop during RAGBRAI. He proposed they set a vendor fee of $350, which would help the city cover the cost of porta potties, signage and entertainment.

Vendors need to submit applications for RAGBRAI by May 26, to get a food permit from the Lee County Health Department.

“You don’t want to have too many vendors because no one makes money. You don’t want too few because you don’t want people to leave,” said Mary Hoyer, city council member. “If you’ve got entertainment and shade, we’re in a pretty good position.”

Garretson said that bicyclists will probably come into Salem hungry since Salem is the official meeting town from Fairfield to Burlington on Friday.

“We’ve got plenty of room. I don’t think there’s an issue there,” Garretson said.

For more information about RAGBRAI, visit Salem Ragbrai 2019 on Facebook.