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Status of Grandstands and Bleachers

For 122 years, the Flathead County Fairgrounds has served as a pivotal center for education, social activities, recreation, and commerce for residents of Flathead County and its neighbors. The Fairgrounds' arena and seating structures, approaching their centennial, are visibly worn from decades of use. In February 2024, as part of a broader capital improvement effort, Flathead County launched a project to design and build a new seating structure—complete with concessions and additional amenities—to replace the North Bleachers adjacent to the larger covered Grandstand.

Given their age and condition, the existing North Bleachers were deemed unsafe for use during the 2024 event season by the project team. Additionally, to adhere to the 2021 International Building Code (IBC), which requires annual inspections of bleachers and grandstands by qualified personnel, the team advised a thorough inspection of the Covered Grandstand and Infield Bleachers. Signs of wear on the Covered Grandstand necessitate an expert evaluation to ensure ongoing structural integrity.

On June 13, 2024, specialists from Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers conducted a detailed onsite visual structural condition assessment of the Grandstands and its supporting framework in accordance with standards set by the 2017 International Code Council (ICC) 300.

Flathead County is exuberant to report that the Covered Grandstands have been deemed to be in good condition and fit for continued use by Martin/Martin. The assessment also highlighted the need for specific repairs to enhance the integrity and extend the lifespan of the Grandstands, ensuring it remains a community hub for many years to come. These repairs must be completed before general seating can resume.

Flathead County is pleased to partner with Martel Construction, who will begin repairs July 8 with an expected completion date of July 16.

Fairgrounds Director Sam Nunnally commented, “Ensuring public safety continues to be our top priority. We are looking forward to making these repairs so the Grandstands can be used and enjoyed for generations to come.”

The 2024 Northwest Montana Fair, Rodeo and Summer Concerts will proceed as scheduled.




Frequently Asked Questions

Updated June 27, 2024

The Grandstands were closed for inspections and repairs. Martin/Martin Engineers identified two repairs that needed to be addressed for the Grandstands to be reopened to the public. Martel construction finished those repairs Wednesday, July 10, and the Grandstands are now ready for public use. They will be officially reopened for the 2024 Fair and Rodeo starting August 13.

We will be updating information here, on the Flathead County Fairgrounds page. You can also email publicinfoofficer(at) with any inquiries.

All upcoming events will still take place, although some scheduling has changed. Visit for the 2024 Fairgrounds Schedule. Events that have yet to be scheduled will be added when dates have been determined.

We will be updating information here, on the Flathead County Fairgrounds page, as inspections are completed, and recommendations are made.

The North Bleachers have been closed due to their condition. The Covered Grandstands were closed for inspection and repairs. Repairs by Martel Construction were completed July 10, 2024, and will be open for the 2024 Fair and Rodeo.

Only the North Bleachers have been formally inspected. There are many areas of the North Bleachers that show significant signs of rot and deterioration of the wood structure, framing, and beams. Based upon the existing observed condition, the North Bleachers were recommended to be closed to the public in its current state. A formal inspection of the Covered Grandstand and Infield Bleachers has not been completed yet. Flathead County is currently searching for a qualified party to conduct full inspections of the Grandstand and Infield Bleachers.

Detailed inspection of the Grandstand and Infield Bleachers was not part of the scope of work for the North Bleacher project. Due to the size and complexity of the Covered Grandstand structure, Flathead County is searching for a structural engineer with extensive experience in arena and stadium seating to conduct the inspection.

No! The rodeo and concerts will proceed as originally scheduled during the 2024 Fair, August 13 – 18.

Absolutely not! The Fair, the PRCA Rodeo and both summer concerts will proceed as previously scheduled.

The North Bleachers have been permanently closed due to their poor condition and will be demolished later this year. In an abundance of safety, Flathead County temporarily closed the Grandstands until a formal inspection could confirm they were safe to use. The recent inspection deemed the Grandstands in good condition but requiring some repairs before they can be reopened. We have made these repairs, and the Grandstands are now ready for the 2024 Fair and Rodeo.

Martel/Martel Engineering conducted a full inspection and delivered a 24-page report of suggested repairs and a recommended priority level and timeline for their completion.

To reopen the Grandstands to the public, two repairs had to be made: reinforcing and repairing loose or split bridging on the roof canopy and reinforcement and bracing of the north end wall. Martel Construction completed repairs July 10, 2024, and the Grandstands are currently ready to be reopened!

The immediately needed repairs to reopen the Grandstands have been made. All other repairs will be made on the recommended timeline suggested by Martin/Martin Engineering and have not yet been scheduled.

Martel has quoted Flathead County $15,485 for these two immediate repairs to reopen, which will be taken from the County’s general fund. Funding for other non-immediate repairs have yet to be determined.

No events for future events are canceled. The 2024 Northwest Montana Rodeo and summer concerts will proceed as scheduled. Some events such as Monster Trucks and Mayhem will be scheduled after the Fair, but do not have certain dates yet.

All tickets can be purchased NOW at .

Page Last Updated: Jul 15, 2024