Perry is ready to entertain, party as RAGBRAI overnight town

The goal for Perry’s overnight RAGBRAI stay can be summed up in the city’s theme for the day: Nothin’ but a good time!

A performance by the hard rock tribute band Hairball will serve as the main act, and the host city will be a sea of “wigs, hairspray, neon lights and everything else” you’d associate with the 80s, said Bob Wilson, executive director of the Perry Chamber of Commerce.

This is the fifth time the city of about 8,000 will host the event overnight, but they’ll likely draw on the earliest stays in 1980 and 1986 for inspiration.

Wilson said organizers thought long and hard about how they could highlight the city, its iconic buildings, events and other aspects. In the end, they decided to keep it simple.

“Perry has so much to celebrate,” he said. “Here we were trying to think of all these things we’re trying to promote and eventually we’re all like, ‘Why don’t we just have a party?’”

Local bands will play throughout the afternoon, and numerous family-friendly events also are being planned, Wilson said.

Perry’s overnight on July 22 will be the capstone to the longest ride of the week – 83 miles, plus the Karras loop for those feeling ambitious.

The city is used to hosting thousands of riders each winter for the annual Bike Ride to Rippey, but RAGBRAI is an opportunity to show off on a much larger scale. The event from July 21-27 attracts about 10,000 riders, but it’s expected to swell to more than 20,000 or even 30,000 when it passes through central Iowa, organizers said.

“Obviously, the exposure for Perry is huge,” Wilson said. “It’s great for economic impact. But the big thing for me is seeing the community come together. That’s what Perry’s been really good at.”

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