Indianola's Simpson College football field will be the venue for the big bands that perform as part of RAGBRAI's overnight stay in Indianola July 23.

The fence is already up around the RAGBRAI entertainment venue.

Simpson College’s Buxton Stadium will serve as the main venue for Sister Hazel and Big Head Todd when they take the stage for RAGBRAI's overnight stay in Indianola July 23, with a beverage garden in the adjacent Hillman Hall parking lot.

It wasn’t the first choice, admitted Gina Piper, entertainment chair for Indianola’s RAGBRAI committee, but it is turning out to be a good one.

“One of our struggles from the beginning has been not having green space on the Square,” said Piper. “RAGBRAI tells us riders want a lot of green space and shade.”

But with the demolition of the Warren County Courthouse happening just before the RAGBRAI overnight, she said, that seemed to be in short supply. A second option, on the corner of Buxton and Clinton streets, also was rejected.

“The fear was that if the bands were too close it would affect the 911 dispatchers (who handle calls from inside the administration building) and their ability to hear calls,” said Piper.

But Simpson College’s stadium answered all of their needs, she said.

“This is our natural go-to, because Simpson has a lot of trees and green space,” she said. “It kind of ties the two together.”

Vendors will stretch along Clinton Avenue from the Stadium, to Buxton Street, then along Buxton to the Square, she said. The main beverage garden during the music will be in the Hillman Hall parking lot, across the pedestrian walkway from the Stadium. Three additional beverage areas will be spread throughout the entertainment area and smaller stages will also be located throughout the area for use during the day.

“We want to make it more accessible throughout the area,” said Piper.

Andy English, director of alumni relations at Simpson College, said the college is eager to open its doors for the event.

“The community is such a big part of Simpson, this is a way to give back, and it’s great exposure for the college,” he said.

English, who already was a member of the beverage garden committee, said representatives from the college will be working closely with the RAGBRAI organizing committee to make sure the visit goes smoothly.

“We’ll make sure we have volunteers and security in place, and kybos,” said English. “We will have the campus center open for riders, we’ll have showers as well. We want people to feel welcome on campus.”

English said some riders will be able to stay in dorms on campus, including in Buxton Hall with eight-person quad spaces for teams and Barker Hall for alumni who are riding. The college has not yet decided if its offices will be open that day.

English said he expects the turf on the Simpson College football field to easily stand up to the traffic. Piper said the security committee also liked having a limited number of entrances to the field. But the best part?, said Englis.h.

“The fencing is in place.”

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