Local food and beverage vendors need to start thinking about the future if they wish to be a part of RAGBRAI in Mason City.

Mason City was announced as an overnight stop for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) for the 2022 event during late January. Cyclists will be riding into the river city on July 27.

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Get excited folks, one of the biggest annual events in the state is returning to North Iowa.

RAGBRAI is a seven-day bike ride across the state of Iowa, with 2022 aiming to be the event’s 48th running. According to RAGBRAI, the event is the oldest, longest and largest recreational bicycle touring event in the world. 

RAGBRAI Mason City held its local food and beverage partnership meeting on Monday afternoon at the North Iowa Regional Commerce Center. Just over 20 people attended to receive tips and to know what they needed to do to feed and hydrate an estimated 25,000 participants.

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It is highly encouraged that food vendors who are joining for the day should apply for proper licensing 30 days in advance according to Senior Environmental Health Specialist Dan Ries from CG Public Health. Ries added to call CG Public Health if individuals need clarification of licensing.

“Some areas are kind of gray so we’ll work through those,” said Ries.

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Senior Environmental Health Specialist Dan Ries from CG Public Health talking about food safety to local vendors on Monday afternoon.

Abby Koch

Ries says those who are thinking about serving food to “keep it simple.”CG Public Health will give help on how to keep things simple, like reducing dishes and handling summer temperatures. 

“It’s all about trying to get safe food out to a lot of people coming to town. You don’t want a bunch of people sick,” said Ries.

Nathan Beyer from Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) spoke to the attendees via Zoom about selling alcohol during RAGBRAI. 

The process to receive an on-premise retail license are: applying, dramshop endorsement, local authority consideration, Iowa ABD consideration, then license issued if conditions are met. Beyer suggests to have steps lined up before the actual application part to create expediency and having 45 days to complete.

“The reason (for 45 days) is it’s everything in between the steps. It’s all an online process as far as what the division does, but those steps in between people pressing buttons is always going to be the long part of it,” said Beyer. “Your dramshop, getting all that lined up so they endorse it. Also, the local authority, City of Mason City, getting everything lined up for them.”

A key detail portion for vendors to pay attention to if they intend to sell alcohol at RAGBRAI is what the license effective date is. Beyer says without the license in effect, vendors cannot operate or purchase alcohol until the license is in effect.

Beyer said another important detail for vendors to have is their sketch of their licensed premise in case of inspections. If anything happens in a certain area can fall as a liability to the vendor that is controlling the space.

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Bar or other facilities looking to have an outdoor door will want to have it be “contiguous”, meaning it has an established entrance that leads outside. Beyer recommends working closely with the city to make sure outdoor areas are set up correctly and proper licensing is attained.

Beyer told the audience to do Iowa Program for Alcohol Compliance Training (I-PACT) before the event. I-PACT is a free training that helps employers and employees spot valid forms of identification to avoid sale to minors. The training also includes tips for offsite delivery of alcohol says the Iowa ABD website.

Vendors can use the Age to Purchase mobile app the day of the event to help ensure alcohol is not sold to minors. The app can scan the bar code on IDs to see if it is real and the individual is drinking age.

Beyer says anyone who has questions over sale of alcohol to contact Iowa ABD before RAGBRAI.

Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley shared route details, both inbound and outbound. Brinkley shared that some of the road closures during RAGBRAI will start at 1 p.m.

Houses and businesses that will be along the route that will be affected by the road closures will be notified. Brinkley added they are trying to give them a way out if they need to leave, but it is encourage they keep travel to a minimum.

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Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley explaining to local vendors about the route on Monday afternoon.

Abby Koch

“The thing I would ask of you guys, if you are going to vend along the route is work really hard to try to have your customers kind of come and go in an orderly fashion,” said Brinkley.

Brinkley recommended putting up some signals, like signage or bike racks, to help avoid jamming up the route.

A full list of details is available to vendors on ragbraimasoncity.com. Applications to become a vendor is due June 3.

Abby covers education and entertainment for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at [email protected]