I have heard similar stories from friends who live in a couple of other overnight towns, although these were smaller towns and less money was involved. The question is: the towns do lose (or spend) money, how much do the churches, legions, etc., local businesses and entrepreneurs make? And then, what is the cost of lost business by the businesses in town who do not sell food and drink? People like car dealers, farm supply places, clothing stores, etc. Some of that applies more to smaller towns that are essentially shut down by RAGBRAI, but it is a question that is being asked. There is also a perception of future gain from people who return for some reason at a later date, which would be very difficult to quantify.