Friday marked the second time AnimeIowa and RAGBRAI have come to Coralville at the same time, but this is the first time they’ve come face to face.
Laurie Haman, a member of Coralville’s RAGBRAI Executive Committee, said in 2011 the two events overlapped, but RAGBRAI was in a different part of the city. The two events this year are sharing space at the Iowa River Landing, she said, and there is mutual respect between the two groups.
“This is the first time we’ve been together in the same space, so we’ve been working with AnimeIowa organizers to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Haman said. “We want to make this a good experience for them and a good experience for the riders.”
Costume-clad Shane Blair and Sam Eue, who were passing through the IRL Friday morning, said they were notified well in advance that the two events would overlap.
“We knew a year ahead of time, and they gave us dibs on the hotel rooms and convention center,” Blair, a four-year AnimeIowa veteran, said of the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
Eue, a first-time visitor, said the pair planned ahead and knew what to expect.
“We got here pretty early because we didn’t want to get caught up in RAGBRAI, and we didn’t want RAGBRAI to get caught up in us,” Eue said.
To welcome the cosplayers, Haman said the more than 3,000 AnimeIowa attendees were given wristbands for half-price food from vendors lining Quarry Road.
“With the theme we have this year, we thought it would be fun to have riders passing people in costumes. It’s going to be a lot of fun for them,” Haman said.
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