The Grandstand was originally built in 1909, and in 1927, more seats were added to the now 10,000+ seating area. Standing majestically just inside the main gate, the Grandstand is one of the most recognizable structures on the Fairgrounds. After several decades and millions of spectators, the building was in dire need of renovations. Concrete had begun to crumble, and the mortar between the bricks was chipping away.
In 1997, more than $9 million was spent to replace old seats, windows, doors, concrete flooring, brickwork, elevators and restrooms. In addition, handicap access and electrical wiring improvements were made. Today, the Grandstand continues to hold at least one major event each night of the Fair. There have been performances by Cher, Johnny Cash, Janet Jackson, Sarah Evans, The Wallflowers, The Goo Goo Dolls, Def Leppard, Brad Paisley and many more big-name performers. There are also rodeos, truck and tractor pulls and monster truck rallies held in the Grandstand.