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A nine-month Grandstand renovation project began at the Iowa State Fair on Nov. 13 with the demolishing the Grandstand stage. Wochit

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Say “goodbye” to the Grandstand of old.

A planned nine-month construction project of the Iowa State Fair’s largest entertainment venue kicked off Monday with the demolition of the decades old stage located north of the Grandstand.

Fear not, fair fans. Officials say construction is due to complete in time for 2018 festivities.

What you need to know:

  • Demolition started Monday and construction plans to finish on Aug. 9, 2018, opening day of the Iowa State Fair.
  • About 4,000 seats are planned to be added just north of the permanent Grandstand structure.
  • A larger stage — 60 feet deep and 100 feet wide — is to be constructed in hopes of accommodating tours with advanced audio and visual production.
  • A cost estimate for the project wasn’t given at the time of publication. It is part of a three-year fairground renovation that kicked off in 2016 with Midway upgrades. The Register reported in 2016 it plans be a multi-million dollar endeavor.
  • Construction doesn’t impact the Grandstand structure, which underwent $9 million of seating renovations in the 1990s.

The stage renovations and additional seats come in effort, Iowa State Fair CEO Gary Slater said in the 2016 article, to attract A-list names to the Grandstand.

“The goal is when we hire entertainers that we do not have them upset that they can’t put the show they normally put on.”

A fair lover's long read: We ranked every Iowa State Fair Grandstand lineup since 1970 from worst to best

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A capella group Pentatonix brought the largest crowd to the Grandstand last summer, pulling 10,643 people through the doors. The Salt-N-Pepa-led “I Love The ‘90s" tour attracted 10,141 and Kid Rock, the highest paid act in Grandstand history, brought in 10,115.

A total 76,165 attended Grandstand entertainment in 2017, down from the 82,283 who went through the Grandstand gates in 2016. The Iowa State Fair set an attendance record in 2017, bringing an estimated 1,130,071 people to Des Moines’ east side.  

More: Grandstand performers like Kid Rock are raking in money, but State Fair profits are flat

Announced acts for the 2018 Iowa State Fair Grandstand include Christian act Casting Crowns on Aug. 9 and country legend Reba McEntire on Aug. 10. Tickets to the 2018 shows are yet to go on sale; a new Grandstand seating chart is to be released in the coming weeks.

The 2018 Iowa State Fair runs Aug. 9-19. 

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2017 Iowa State Fair Grandstand by the numbers:

  • 4,551 people attended for KING & COUNTRY on Aug. 10.
  • 7,282 people attended Nickelback on Aug. 11.
  • 10,141 people attended the I Love the ‘90s Tour on Aug. 12.
  • 10,643 people attended Pentatonix on Aug. 13.
  • 4,372 people attended Paramore with X Ambassadors on Aug. 14.
  • 3,673 people attended Flo Rida on Aug. 15.
  • 9,124 people attended Alabama on Aug. 17.
  • 10,006 attended Little Big Town on Aug. 18.
  • 6,258 people attended John Mellencamp on Aug. 19.
  • 10.115 people attended Kid Rock on Aug. 20.

More: A look at nearly 5 decades of Iowa State Fair Grandstand lineups

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