Ravalli County appears to be on its way to change the rules for selling alcohol at the Fairgrounds in Hamilton. And it's a change fair managers would like to see.

Not to sell more alcohol products during the Ravalli County Fair at the end of the summer. But to make it easier for other events to sell, so the county to can accommodate different event organizers who would like to rent the fairgrounds throughout the year.

And the change could see final approval this coming week.

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Expanding options

Over the past few weeks, Ravalli County commissioners have been considering whether to change the current ordinance, which has limited alcohol sales to the Events Center. That's the indoor facility right inside the fairgrounds entrance, which is used not only during the fair at the end of August but for other events throughout the year, including commercial shows.

Fair managers have been backing the switch so that the county can meet the interest of other event backers, who would like to use more of the fairgrounds. And frequently what makes those events financially feasible is alcohol sales.

Fair Manager Melissa Saville has said that would bring in more revenue for the county, and the City of Hamilton, noting that the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office and Hamilton Police have said it wouldn't mean any change in their responsibilities.

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The change could help rodeos and concerts

Fair leaders have said they're seeing more requests from music promoters and others who would like to use the fairgrounds.

But they've stressed the alcohol sales expansion wouldn't impact the fair itself, which they want to stay as a "family-friendly" event. The new rules would present the expanded alcohol sales for 14-days before, and after, the Ravalli County Fair.

Action expected next week

Ravalli County commissioners have already showed support of the change on the "first reading" of the ordinance. There's one final chance for comment on June 25th when the board is expected to take a final vote.

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Gallery Credit: Nick Northern

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