Bismarck Event Center

Bismarck Event Center first plans

The Bismarck Event Center, who just finished celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019, has been a staple in the Bismarck Community since 1969. With an arena that boasts 46,000 square feet and seating up to 10,000 plus a newer expanded exhibit hall with an additional 100,000 square feet, the facility has been known to accommodate most any type of event.

The economic impact that they have had on the community has been proven time and time again in their 50 year history. “To make sure the building partners with the whole community, we need businesses to help with this. Of course, Dakota Community Bank & Trust has been a very important part of that. They help sponsor rodeos and just their general sponsorship with us helps. The impact that it has on the community, bringing tourists in and the money that gets exchanged within the community is huge in our economy,” mentions Building Director Charlie Jeske.

Bis-Event-Center-PBR Signage

“It is a partnership we really enjoy having with Dakota Community Bank & Trust. We are very appreciative of it. They not only give us the initial response of a general sponsorship, but they are also a partner of individual events like the rodeo, PBR and a couple other events. They are also a big partner with our ATMs throughout the building,” adds Jeske. “Even back when we had the flooding and we were doing a sandbag operation out of the event center, Dale (Pahlke) brought down their portable grill and set it up and fed the workers and those helping do the sandbags and operations. That was huge. It was very appreciated by the community and us here. Dale took it upon himself. Little things like that might go unnoticed, and we might not always say thank you right away, but it is a huge thank you to have someone like that step up and say, ‘Hey, we want to help.’”

Very appreciative of all the support they receive from the entire community as well as their sponsorships, Jeske says he cannot say enough about how thankful they are for those wonderful partnerships in the Bismarck-Mandan and surrounding community.

The benefits of the Bismarck Event Center not only holds true for the entire community, but also for the employees there. Jeske states that they have many part-time and full-time employees that retire with 20-30+ years of experience. He says that the longevity and the experience of those employees really show the pride they have working for the facility and that those people make working there even more enjoyable.

He also maintains that with over 600 event days each year over the last few years, after the increased addition of the exhibit hall, the centrally-located building is used by the local community as well as surrounding communities for many local, regional and state events. Amanda Bakkedahl, marketing director, mirrors Jeske in saying that it is sometimes a difficult and delicate balance trying to get the right array of events brought in as well as enough, but not too many, events brought in for the community to enjoy. Though all of the conventions help boost the building use and the economic increases, “It is the tickets events where we see the most smiles,” says Jeske. With larger entertainment acts, rodeos, events, concerts, or family shows, “It is not only the kids but the kids at heart, when they leave with a big smile on their face, it really makes it worthwhile.”


With three properties under one – the arena, the exhibit hall, and the Belle Mehus Auditorium, those 600 event days are many times stacked one on top of the other resulting in more than one event per day. Jeske says that though not all big, each scheduled meeting or event all take proper handling and planning on their end to make sure there is smooth execution by all parties for a flawless finish.

From business meetings to concerts to national touring shows, the Bismarck Event Center, once named the Bismarck Civic Center, is a historical facility in the heart of downtown Bismarck. Stressing that it is a community space for many different events, the goal is to make sure that it does get its use each and every year as the next 50 years of the Bismarck Event Center legacy continues.

Written by Lindsey Hefta, Marketing Director

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