RAGBRAI entertainment brings adventure, Iowa music front and center

Press staff report

Iowa musicians and riverfront play will be front and center attractions as Charles City welcomes thousands of spectators and riders on July 26 for RAGBRAI, the Charles City entertainment committee announced in a statement.

Planned activities will highlight the Cedar River, which underwent a restoration process in 2008 to remove the low head dam and make the river accessible for downtown visitors and residents. That process culminated in Charles City WhiteWater at Riverfront Park, which has three whitewater features for kayakers and tubers.

“We are now able to offer some really special experiences and will be accentuating our whitewater course with some other extreme-outdoor sports,” the committee said.


The opportunities will start with 100 feet of zipline on Riverside Drive, near the Pub on the Cedar, for $5 per person. Zipline riders must meet the weight requirement of under 200 pounds, and must fit securely in the harness. Participants are required to sign an on-site waiver.

“The zipline will go along with the current, so you’ll have the feeling you’re zooming right down the river!” the committee said.

Scale the town’s skyline with a little rock climbing on a mobile rock climbing wall provided by the National Guard, located near the zipline on Riverside Drive. The event is free with some age and size qualifications.

The whitewater course will be the main stage for both professional sport demonstrations and all-day river rides down the three features.

Area kayakers will hold demonstrations on the course behind City Hall and the Public Library highlighting whitewater skills; the free program will be held at 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Visitors can also take on the river themselves — renting inner tubes for $5 from Rapids End Outfitters from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. behind City Hall. Riders are encouraged to wear a life jacket and a pair of water shoes or old tennis shoes to protect their feet in the river.


Charles City is welcoming an all-Iowa cast of musicians to take over the RAGBRAI Outdoor Music Festival.

Maddie Poppe, a singer-songwriter from Clarksville, will perform at the Michelob Ultra Stage from 1-2 p.m. Poppe is an indie/pop/folk singer who accompanies herself on guitar, ukulele and keyboard.

Musician Mars Daniels (Meusel) hails from Charles City and returns home from Los Angeles to play from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Meusel’s original music blends reggae, pop and a singer-songwriter sensibility, and Meusel recently released his debut E.P. “Interstellar Pt. II” while working in California.

Juni West & The Big Fuzz will be performing from 4-5 p.m. West is a Mason City guitarist and vocalist who will perform with The Big Fuzz, a two-piece bass and drum band.

Headliners to storm the Charles City stage will be Dan Tedesco (5 p.m.), The Nadas (7 p.m.) and the Pork Tornadoes (9:30 p.m.).

“Charles City is proud to be offering events and attractions that can’t be replicated in any other RAGBRAI overnight stop. The unique experience we will deliver to our visitors is sure to create a lasting impact,” the committee said.