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Festivals & Events, Vendors & Entertainers

Fair Office and Staffing for a Fair, Festival or Event
by Keith Kesler, Champaign County Fair

County Fairs, regardless of the size, are big business and often times the most important event in the area. The image a fair offi ce portrays to others is an important factor in the success of a fair. Usually the first contact visitors, exhibitors, and others have with your fair is through a personal visit to the offi ce or a telephone conversation.

There should be someone in the fair offi ce that is knowledgeable about the fair operation to answer questions. There will always be special problems or questions; however, they can be greatly minimized if the staff is familiar with the rules and regulations governing the fair.

The fair office is an extremely busy place long before the actual fair begins. There should be someone of authority in charge, a "Hub," with knowledge and expertise in the fair fi eld. It is helpful if this person is also involved in the State and International Associations. This involvement will bring an awareness of what is happening throughout the fair industry. Information received from these associations can be very helpful and should be put to use in each fair organization.

Considering the amount of money, time, and number of people involved in the making of a fair, there are really no "small" fairs. Each fair should be run like a business. One of the most important things in running a successful fair is being prepared for the peak period of time when the County Fair actually takes place.

Analyze and determine the parts of the preparation work that can be done ahead of time to help level off the activity. A great deal of the paperwork can and should be done in advance; in order to create a more relaxed atmosphere when additional people become involved at fair time. Accurate records of every aspect of the fair operations should be effi ciently kept, filed, and be readily accessible. Efficient files, records, and check-off lists are vital. In the event of an emergency, the fair operation would continue with a minimum amount of interruption. Look ahead and be ready.

Fairs depend on "Volunteer Help" and these volunteers are a very important part of any fair. Volunteers are interested in the success of the fair, giving of their time to help make things happen. Let them know they are appreciated and are considered an integral part of any fair.

It is important for the surrounding community to attend and participate in the County Fair; therefore, it is helpful when County Fair Board Members are involved in community affairs. By being involved, they are able to draw people from various community groups into the fair activities. Board members should be interested men and women, who are dedicated to making the fair an event of which we can all be proud. As stated earlier, the County Fair is a business and should be conducted as such. A professional attitude should be developed. Good public relations will be created by a smooth functioning County Fair.