Olmsted County is set to approve $60,000 from the county’s contingency fund on June 6, 2023, to finance the rental of temporary bleachers and supporting equipment for use during the Olmsted County Fair, scheduled to take place July 24 through July 30, 2023. This decision comes in response to a review of the grandstand at Graham Park, which revealed the structure was not in compliance with state standards.
“Over the years, the county has invested funds to bring the grandstand up to code for Olmsted County Fair events,” said Olmsted County Board of Commissioners Chair Gregory Wright. “However, the 85-year-old structure is constantly exposed to Minnesota’s harsh weather conditions and, not to mention, underutilized. As we look to make further Graham Park enhancements, we aim to make thoughtful investments to create desirable amenities that will be well-used by our community’s residents and visitors.”
The temporary bleachers will provide seating for approximately 2,000 attendees during popular fair events such as bull riding and the demo derby. The amount of seating aligns with the number of seats available in the current covered section of the grandstand. The Olmsted County Fair Board and the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners will collaborate to explore future possibilities for the grandstand area.
“This temporary measure allows us to envision a new perspective for Olmsted County Fair events,” said Olmsted County Fair Board President Scott Schneider. “We are thrilled to offer seating options for our cherished fair events this year. Working with the board of commissioners, we look forward to developing a sustainable long-term solution.”
The construction of buildings and reimagining of space are integral components of the Graham Park master plan. On May 22, 2023, the Minnesota legislature approved $8 million toward an exhibition center at Graham Park.