Bleachers for Your Fair – What to Consider
Do you run a fair? Whether it is a small-town fair, or a huge state fair, you need to consider seating in your planning.
Seating is one of the most important commodities for visitors to your fair – they want a place to sit, with a great view of the action! “It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your shows; if people can’t see it, there is no value.” says Mike Timmermans (event organizer, and founder of Bleacher Rentals). The solution to the seating issue for fairs is bleachers. They can accommodate large crowds, and everyone can see and enjoy the show you worked so hard to produce.
What kinds of things should you consider when choosing bleachers for your fair?
-Number of seats
-Buying vs. renting
-Safety and building codes
-Aesthetics: how your seating impacts the overall look of the event
Above: a shot from our local fair – the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show, with a 15-row mobile grandstand from Bleacher Rentals. Photo credit to Rose Lee Studio.
Number of Seats
How many seats do you need at your fair? Do you need them all in one place, or spread throughout the grounds? Do you need them all on the same day(s), or could they move mid-fair? These are all questions to consider when planning.
An issue faced by many fairs is the limited amount of frontage available in front of their most popular shows. How do you get more seats when you can’t extend further out? Go up! Did you know that mobile bleachers are available as high as 15 rows tall? If you are currently using 5 row bleachers, you could literally triple the amount of seating in front of your top shows by replacing them with 15 row bleachers!
You might be thinking “Big bleachers sound great, but they’re really expensive. We don’t have that kind of money!” Consider the alternative – you have no (or not enough) seating in front of the shows people came to watch, and then your visitors leave, with a bitter taste in their mouths. What is a happy lifetime customer worth to your fair?
Buying vs. Renting
Should we rent or should we buy? This is a question we hear all the time from fair organizers. That depends… how often do you need the seats? If you only need a car one week of a year, would you buy one, or would you just rent a car for that one week?
If you need seating for a one-time event, it would make the most sense to simply rent the bleachers you need. If you need them every weekend for events happening on your grounds, you would be better off to buy the bleachers.
We find that most fairs are best off with a mix of these two scenarios. Having either a permanent grandstand, and/or a few sets of small mobile bleachers that belong to the fairground is great for smaller events that occur throughout the year. But, the week of your fair you will most likely need additional seating, perhaps spread throughout the grounds. This is where renting additional mobile bleachers can be really helpful. Rental bleachers come in all different sizes, to accommodate your fairs needs.
Interested in renting bleachers? Get a quote!
Interested in purchasing bleachers? See what we have available for sale!
Mobile bleachers in place at the Florida State Fair.
Safety and Building Codes
As an event organizer, it is your responsibility to do everything in your power to keep your guests safe. This includes the seating you provide. Is the seating at your fair (either owned or rented) keeping your guests safe? As much as building code rules can be a pain in the neck, they were created for a reason.
Do you know what the building code requires when it comes to bleachers? While the rules vary slightly from one state/province to another, the International Building Code has set guidelines for bleachers that are standard. Things to look at include: stairs with hand rails, side and back rails, gap sizes between rows, etc. This is a whole other topic (that you can learn about in our bleacher safety blog series), but it is an important thing to educate yourself on and consider when choosing your seating.
Whether buying or renting, be sure to insist that the bleachers you provide to your guests meet both IBC and local building code standards. Any reputable bleacher supplier should be able to tell you these requirements.
Don’t forget about the aesthetics of your event. People will notice how the fairgrounds look, and it will impact their overall impression of the event. How will your seating choice impact the overall look of your fair?
If you have old, run down bleachers, this will factor into visitor’s overall perception of the event. Could renting some state-of-the art mobile bleachers elevate the status of your event, causing visitors to want to return again? Again … what is the lifetime value of a happy visitor to your fair?
Bleacher seating is a major consideration at your fair. In your planning, make sure to think about how many seats you really need and where, the pros and cons of buying vs. renting, the safety of the bleachers you provide, and how the bleachers impact the overall aesthetics of your fair.
If you ever have questions about bleachers, we are happy to answer them! If you are looking to rent (or purchase) bleachers, we would be happy to either give you a quote, or connect you with a reputable company in your area.