Missoula County Fairgrounds Are Busier Than You May Think
The Missoula County Fairgrounds are busy these days. Recently they held the Special Olympics Polar Plunge Griz Dip and Run Wild Missoula's "Run for the Luck of It". Both of those events were held at the fairgrounds for the first time. This weekend the Missoula County Fairgrounds will be busy with the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Rendezvous.
Missoula County Fairgrounds, is Only a Small Portion of What They Do
Growing up for me it was the "Western Montana Fairgrounds". The event is the "Western Montana Fair", but the facilities are the Missoula County Fairgrounds. I was surprised at how many events and how many people the fairgrounds host throughout the year. I spoke with Billie Ayers, the Missoula County Fairgrounds Events and Operations Manager about how busy the fairgrounds are and about some of the events that will be coming up. She said:
The Five Valley Kennel Club dog show. At the end of April the U of M Spring Rodeo. In September we will have the Monster Truck Nitro Tour coming back. In the fall the SOS fair... We usually have some pretty big Christmas markets with Prairie Sisters and The Little Red Truck... Indigenous Made Missoula will also be here in the fall as one of the Christmas markets.
The Missoula County Fairgrounds Are Essential in an Emergency
The Missoula County Fairgrounds, because of the central location, is more than just a place to host our fair. It is literally an "events center". It is an ideal location in the case of emergencies. Which it has been used for in the past. Something that I never thought about. Billie continued:
The fairgrounds serve as an events center and also a place for emergencies. During Covid, we were really busy as a place for vaccine clinics, drive-thru vaccines, and testing. The Army Corps of Engineers explored the space if we had gotten to the point where another hospital would have had to have been set up. Outside of the fun of the fair, and the ease of renting the facilities year round, it is an events center but it is also a place for emergencies, for animals and humans.
The Fairgrounds Visitors Have Increased the Past Few Years
The number of people that have visited the fairgrounds has increased every year over the past three years, according to Billie. The number of unique visitors to the fairgrounds has increased from 95,000 visitors in 2019 to over 120,000 visitors in 2022. The Western Montana Fair has also been financially successful the past few years. Billie says:
The fair is set out to be, within the county budget, to be revenue neutral. What that means is we don't use tax payer dollars, really to put on the fair. We use the revenue created by the fair to pay for the fair. It is done within the county budget of what it takes to keep the buildings and the grounds operating year round. The fair has come out in the black the last two years.
Western Montana Fair Tickets On Sale Very Soon
With the Western Montana Fair coming up this August, you will be able to purchase tickets to the fair starting April 1st. Which is the earliest the tickets have been on sale for a while. If you are planning on having a private event, like a wedding or corporate meetings, the fairgrounds are available for rent. There is so much more happening at the fairgrounds and we will keep you updated as events get closer.