MISSOULA — Staff are preparing for tens of thousands of visitors this week and were busy Monday getting ready before the fair kicks off.
The hours leading up to the opening of the 2019 the Western Montana Fair is a time where Production Manager Tom Aldrich says the crew goes into “beast mode.”
“The day or two before are always big days for us and our, and our crew," he told MTN News.
The sound of pounding hammers, power drills, and the bright finish of fresh coat of paint proved that point.
All of the hard work will come to fruition on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
“It all starts out with a grand opening ceremony right at the Commercial Building. We’re really excited about that. It has a lot of new features and amenities, and it is just beautiful," Aldrich said.
The 2019 Western Montana Fair will feature other new additions beyond the remodeling of the Commercial and Culinary buildings.
The fair has joined the "Zero by ’50 Waste" program initiative by offering visitors the option of recycling.
There will also be more food vendors than ever, along with all of the rides typically found at the fair.
Aldrich says perhaps the most important new addition comes at the Saturday night rodeo.
"Rock The Red, Saturday night -- we’re asking everyone to wear red. And we’re raising awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls," Aldrich explained.
And it wouldn't be the Western Montana Fair without music.
“We have a great line up this year, local and national favorites, probably our biggest name is Wade Hayes, he’ll be here Saturday night," Aldrich said.
One year after a young girl was seriously injured falling off of a high-speed ride, Aldrich says they are taking an extra step to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“We have hired a ride inspector this year. He is a third-party inspector," Aldrich said. "He’ll be doing daily reports, working with our staff, he’ll be on-site throughout the fair."
"Safety is very important to the fair and keeping everyone safe and happy is our number one priority," he added.
While the official grand opening is schedules for Wednesday morning, events including a rodeo, and Beer Garden Bingo will kick things off Tuesday evening.
This will mark the third year in a row that people can get into the Western Montana Fair for free.