Attention RAGBRAI vendors! Mark 6:30 p.m. June 18 for a meeting for all food vendors at the Town Craft Building, second floor. Katie McDonald, chairperson of the RAGBRAI Vendor Committee said the vendors, currently about 21, will be meeting with the state health inspector at that time. "We hope the meeting helps contribute to no problems with inspections," she said.
The inspector will be there to answer questions, talk about requirements such as hand-washing stations, food temperatures, how to manage ice, how to keep ice from being contaminated and more.
"We want to serve over 20,000 people and do it safely. Inspections of each vendor will be done on RAGBRAI day, but there is no set schedule for that day," McDonald said. That’s why the meeting is so important. If the vendors aren’t doing things right, the inspector will shut them down right there." One of the questions the committee has asked potential vendors is how many people they prepared to serve. "We want to make sure we don’t have too many or too few vendors. Sometime this week the committee planned to approve the final vendors. Although the deadline for people and organizations to apply for vendor licenses has passed, anyone still interested can visit with McDonald by callineg her at Van Wall Equipment at 515-465-5685. Nearly all the vendros, except for the local churches, will be serving at Pattee Park. One exception is the group serving non-alcoholic beverages at Wiese Park.
"We are certain there will be plenty of food for people to eat and there will be good variety too," McDonald said.
Currently, there are 21 food vendors lined up and two non-food vendors, she said. She wasn’t quite ready to give out the names of the non-local vendors because her committee still had some fine-tuning to do on which vendors will be approved.
The local non-profit vendors are the First United Methodist Church serving chicken and noodles; Abilities Unlimited serving beef burgers: Perry Junior Class having a spahgetti dinner; St. Martens Episcopal Church is serving pork loin sandwiches and baked potatoes; The Perry Lutheran Home is serving BLT wraps and bacon-wrapped smokies; The Perry Optimists and Perry Rotary together are selling non-alcoholic beverages at Weise Park; Knights of Columbus, food to be announced; and the Kiwanis Club serving pancakes and sausage for breakfast.
Other vendors which the committee is considering include a variety, from smoothies to Asian, Italian and fair-type food – like food on a stick, barbecue, Greek, tacos, pretzels and more. McDonald said there were some local vendors upset about having to pay the $300 set for non-profit vendors. The cost for for-profit vendors is $750.
"We thought it was important that the city doesn’t have to pay the fee. The city is providing a lot of services, including electricity, police, etc., and we don’t want to have the taxpayers get stuck with the bill for those things," she said.
Unlike the church vendors, other non-profits and for-profit vendors, regular local restaurants, aren’t required to have vendor permit as long as they are serving from their own establishment.
McDonald said the two non-food vendors are Verizon Wireless, which will be setting up cell phone charging stations, and MidAmerican Energy, which will be giving away sunglass straps.
All the vendors, food and non-food, along with local restaurants will be included on the RAGBRAI map so participants will know where to find the food.