Flathead County

County Closes Fairgrounds Grandstand and Bleachers Due to Safety Concerns

An inspection of the north bleachers found significant signs of rot and deterioration; Professional Bull Riding event moved to the Majestic Valley Arena next weekend

By Micah Drew
Spectators seated in the Flathead Valley Fairground's grandstand in this 2014 Beacon file photo.

Flathead County officials announced on Thursday the closure of the north bleachers and covered grandstand at the Flathead County Fairgrounds due to structural safety concerns.

According to a press release, the county launched a capital improvement project earlier this year to redesign and build a new seating structure to replace the existing north bleachers adjacent to the main grandstand at the fairgrounds.       

During a formal inspection by the project team, the bleachers, which were built almost a century ago, were found to have significant signs of rot and deterioration of the wood structure, framing and beams, the release states. The covered grandstand and infield bleachers have not been formally inspected but showed signs of wear, and the project team advised closing all structures to public use.

“We are reevaluating our arena areas. No decisions will be finalized until further inspections are conducted,” fairgrounds director Sam Nunnally stated in the press release. “Ensuring public safety remains our top priority, and it will guide our actions.”

The public closure will affect any events currently scheduled to take place in the fairgrounds arena, including next weekend’s Professional Bull Riding event, which has been moved to the Majestic Valley Arena.

The Flathead County Fairgrounds hosts many events during the summer, headlined by the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo in August. Currently, fair officials are looking at possible options to keep the flagship event’s concerts and rodeos at the arena site without utilizing the seating structure for spectators, as well as seeking out alternative locations. The rest of the fair events, including the livestock show, carnival and expo activities, are slated to continue as normal.            

The latest updates can be found on the Flathead County Fairgrounds website.

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