Organizers say Clear Lake, Ventura left a postive impression on RAGBRAI participants
by Marianne Morf
It was Clear Lake at its best.
Sunshine, a gentle breeze pushing sailboats across the blue water, music drifting throughout the business district and people-- lots of people, taking it all in. An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 bicyclists traveled through Clear Lake Wednesday as part of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).
“The Planning Committee worked together since last March to plan this day. Our goal was to promote Clear Lake and create a safe environment for our guests and residents – and we wanted everyone to have fun. Those expectations were met many times over,” stated Diane Thompson, general chairman for the event.
The committee successfully recruited hundreds of volunteers to do everything from man intersections to recycle cans and bottles. Their efforts were recognized not only by the estimated 30,000 bicyclists, but by locals, including business owners and those at the Chamber of Commerce.
“I was overwhelmed at how friendly the crowd was and how they truly loved RAGBRAI and Clear Lake,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tim Coffey, who was experiencing his first RAGBRAI. “Very common comments from those that I greeted was, ‘What a great spot!’ ‘You have a real gem here!’ ‘This is the best spot on the ride, to include Okoboji!’ and ‘I never realized Iowa was so beautiful!’”
Among the Clear Lake attractions discovered for the first time, or re-visited for the special memories it invokes, was the Surf Ballroom.
Donna and Jose Medina met at the Surf Ballroom during the 1999 RAGBRAI. In 2010 the couple, who are now married and live in Ankeny, Iowa but maintain a condo in Clear Lake, were allowed to sign their names on the wall in the Surf backstage room for performers.
Hundreds more included a stop-- if not a dance, at the Surf Ballroom on their way through Clear Lake.
Michael and Cindy Blackburn, from St. - Read More Via e-Edition