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2019 Convention

At the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites and Conference Centre

See you Feb. 14-16, 2019

Please Contact

Kathryn Lambert,

Convention Administrator

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 519-287-3553

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Round Table Summaries - Convention 2016

How Do You See Fairs In The Future?
• Pizza program- demo- where everything in the pizza comes from
• Electronic changes- info goes into the Board of Education website, prize list
• Got a grant for TV advertising
• Hard to keep agriculture alive
• Is entertainment taking over?
• Will have to work hard to keep fairs going forward
• Grants – Canadian Heritage * BCAH Building Canadian Arts Heritage * Celebrate Ontario * Farm Credit * Ontario tourism event partnership program
• Truck & tractor Pulls- big hit
• Demo derby- gate price going up to $12 on demo day
• Technology- impact our fairs
• Horse and cattle shows have declined
• Free admission % based o midway income
• Midway toonie night
• More educational displays- sheep shear- different breeds-spinning in arena
• What shows are valid- sheep? Fowl? Beef?
• Less Agriculture- less livestock at some fairs
• Agri-entertainment teaching people
• Tailor to demographics of community
• Interest more youth in fairs/ agriculture
• Alcohol availability – reducing
• Positive and optimistic about future
• Volunteer numbers reducing
• Running race –resurgence
• Cell phone apps for explanations
• Social media on increase- be specific on project for fair class
• Homecraft needs to be promoted and enhanced
• multicultural
• young people and traditional crafts and skills
• educational
• rural development
• agriculture has diminishing role because of the increase in farm size and biosecurity
• collaboration of multiple fairs to create a giant massively coordinated event as a future possibility (consolidation) OR maintaining the celebratory hometown spirit and continue to operate independently
• “If we want a future; we must think about promotion”
• xtending invitation to people in the city
• share resources, yet don’t duplicate!
• share “the story of agriculture” with those who don’t know it. The people of your town might have heard it a thousand times, but people from the city will be intrigued

The Value of Volunteer Coordinator At the Fair
• Secretary does volunteer shifts to much for on one person
• Approaching people partner with other fairs
• Value in having one person coordinating/directing
• Website- send info online if they want to volunteer
• Volunteer orientation-safety, make up hours, areas/info/where stuff is
• CAFE volunteer poster
• Approach High schools in the Spring for Fall fairs
• Ambassador contestants help throughout weekend- they come back
• Need to treat the younger volunteer well- train them
• Get needs ahead of time
• Text volunteers to go to places
• Make sure people who are responsible or can answer question are easily identified
• Untapped Markets- semi-retired- Senior citizen condos/ apartments
• What to do when you need to “fire” a volunteer?-Find a different job or good fit job for them
• Set a schedule of volunteers need to pair up an experienced older with a newer volunteer
• Connect with Community College that offers Volunteer coordinator program because students often need placements or experience.
• A volunteer recognition wall/display
• Do fairs provide meals to volunteers?
• Do volunteers get in free?- some say yes, some say no, some get admission with membership or reimbursed after volunteering
• Make sure to connect with new volunteers & make them feel welcome
• Thank constantly
• volunteer recognition awards
• Jr. Members- Have a meeting with committee chairs- set up with tables & Jrs. Circulate and sign up to help. Do this 2 or 3 weeks before the fair
• recruiting/maintaining volunteers
• Advertise for volunteers- KiJiJi- volunteer email-Website
• fair coordinator has book to call in people
• are police checks needed? Who pays?
• not a member of the Board so time can be more focussed at fair time
• use committee chairs and see who they have and what they need
• when busy the volunteer chair will be able to keep the volunteer busy and not waste his/her time
• need a central volunteer chart with posted jobs and who’s doing them
• volunteer chair could be a recruit for volunteers
• one person; easy to contact; good natured
• do we need a job description for volunteers? Who do we use? Where do we use them?
• give them jobs they like
• need to know set up and tear down of the fair so the proper volunteers and talents can be used
• TOPIC: How do you fire a volunteer?
• Collingwood has one who helps keep the high school volunteers in check; in 2016 they will get an assistant and works all year. They have a running list that they can call. She advertises in the paper. Not a paid position.
• students: information sheet; personal information; parental consent; food allergies
• how do you know who you have, e.g. handle the money, work with kids, etc.
• make this part of your strategic plan
• put up a job board so people know what to do
• most fairs used volunteer committees and the chair is the coordinator

Effective & Unique Methods For Moving Around Your Fairgrounds
• compact site-have parking
• map for moving visitors-offer directions
• Use 1st impressions program
• Put map on program- attach numbers to locations- colours
• have volunteers to direct people
• large acreage site- people movers
• problem with accessibility
• Brochures with time, map- colour code zones with like activities
• Signage for upcoming event
• use apps
• use MC”S to promote other venues
• use of signs form new visitor point of view
• Information Kiosk- for questions
• strategic placing of signage-add pictures
• Put activities near or in areas where you want to draw people
• Change entrances to direct people to buildings which don’t attract people
• Signs should be eye level or higher
• Passport for kids
• Buses from down town, legion
• Pamphlets, brochures when they enter
• Information Booth
• Wagon rides, wheel chairs, gators
• Shuttle bus from parking lots

Getting the Younger Generations Involved at an Early Age.
• Give youth something to do once they are willing to be involved
• Jr. Directors (young people under 25)
• Recruiting through 4-H
• Target younger families
• Using schools as a resource- working with the teachers (leadership programs)
• Mentorship programs- empower-Give them something they are interested in
• Don’t over extend them, let them work within their comfort zone
• Use Social media and promote the fair beyond the actual fair date
• Using the 4-H and Jr. Directors when you need volunteers before and after the fair
• Ambassadors Program
• treat your Jr. Directors as you would a regular Director
• Age Group 16-26- 16-18 do not vote
• Let Jr. Directors run programs
• Create a Jr. Board- run same as full Board- Jr. Directors attend regular main board meetings
• Exhibitors- youth/ family involvement
• Provide food for all volunteers
• Fair Appreciation dinner (3-6 months after fair)
• Volunteers wear radios & vests
• Erin call their Volunteers Associate Director’s
• Morale of the story=If the Directors are not on the same page Change will not happen.
• Ambassador join Jr. Directors once their reign is done
• Ambassadors started a silent auction, donations to raise money for scholarship
• Approach youth in the community and ask why they are not involved
• no charge for Directors or Jr. Directors for membership also get 2nd pass for spouse, free parking on grounds
• Do not treat anyone differently- don’t make young volunteers pick up trash only
• give them responsibility- this is the key to create opportunities that get the youth talking afterwards
• Common theme is that change is necessary and you will tick people off
• Change one thing a at time, but change it
• Start small to bring in change and prove to the young can do what the older members do
• Remind your Directors that the fair will not be successful without your volunteers
• Social Media is run by one person and has a connection with the Youth
• Travel to other Fairs to get a fresh look at what works and what you could do to your fair.
• Remind your Volunteers that every little bit helps. If they can only commit to an hour, take them up on that.
• Junior Fair Board
• 4-H
• Agri-education programs
• Working with schools- involving children
• Junior sections/ categories
• Junior Directors
• 4-H fall fair club –“service club” topic
• go into elementary school could be organized by fall fair club
• do you need a fair board member to lead? Past president?
• education day brings young to the fair to learning stations
• discount coupon now used from Grade 6 and lower
• 4-H achievement days at fair –one every day
• life skills competition –try to encourage cattle/animal clubs
• kids day –very young want to participate –older kids could help serve
• mentoring youth with committee chair
• junior Directors 18+ years to vote
• have them plan, organize events, then report how it went
• what is in it for them? High school students volunteer for hours and mentoring should be set up
• younger people usually get involved because of parents involvement but a lot of people still not involved and a way to engage might be to set up a pairing up program
• online presence needed to draw younger people in
• involvement through attendance rather than volunteering might be achieved by getting the teen generation to attend events specifically for them (issues come from that, e.g. sex, alcohol, drugs)
• teen dance could be offered with the entertainment being local talent
• amateur sheep showing for junior children -4-H exhibitors allow them to use their sheep
• volunteer family night –sign up sheets pairing up families (parents and children) to do certain jobs around fair
• Junior Board for younger people to make decisions (age 10-21)
• appreciation needed at a younger age –they need to feel appreciated so that they come back at an older age to volunteer and become involved
• create a Fair Club to learn skills like baking or jam making
• offer clubs to come and run gates

New Fair Board Member Orientation
• having a list of jobs
• volunteer co-ordinator
• list of all the committees leading up to the fair –planning process
• binders with written job descriptions
• list of committees that are involved during the fair
• timeline of what and when things have to be done

Agricultural Fair in Urban settings
Issues
• parking/ traffic flow
• Urban setting –impacts
• Property ownership- Municipal or Private
• Development of Partnership with Municipality shared use and restrictions
• Lack of room for expansion
• Engagement of community
• Development pressures- land value
• Diversity and sharing Agricultural experience
• School- work to rule impacts- busing
• Municipal by-laws prohibiting exotic animals
• Indoor vs outdoor events- weather conditions
• Positive
• Population to draw from- walking distance
• schools- educational aspect
• Community sponsorship
• Local support
• Services- water/ hydro
• Great education opportunity- learning experience

What is a Commercial/Professional Exhibitor?
• professional baker allowed to enter? (school teacher puts in 100 items in that fair)
• quilters selling their own work –professional
• registered business is a professional
• should you just wait for a complaint?
• can the judge pick up on any of the professionals
• rule: entries within a certain distance allowed
• professional photography –selling their work and exhibiting also; should stating for amateurs only
• apple orchards vs tree in backyard
• classes for professionals: flowers, quilts
• classes for children –it is doubtful that a child produced the final product
• in photography there is a note “no professional photography”
• honey and maple syrup producers –if professionals weren’t allowed there probably wouldn’t be a show
• more for the glory than the award money
• some crafters sell their products but not as a full time job –more of an amateur professional
• need to be mindful that exhibitor numbers could decline even more

Maintaining and Updating Your Website
• Ride All Day Pass promo prior to fair
• businesses sponsor Ride All Day Passes ($50)
• we do 6 weeks worth of ride passes prior
• volunteer seem to have more of a vested interest in running websites (under 30s)
• need to be updated constantly work alongside Facebook, twitter, instgram
• like website to your Facebook page so that it keeps website in forefront of people’s minds
• secretaries/volunteers update websites
• if you have a sponsor make sure you thank them
• train new people to update –very easy
• make sure you use Facebook
• try to get high school students to apprentice
• have a social media person
• ask local businesses to sponsor
• benefits of Facebook/website/twitter –most used Facebook
• differences: events are transmitted more by Facebook; use website for longer messages
• using a company is more reliable for spreading message
• timely update daily before any important “mail” is sent out
• post on social media then website
• post prize lists but also mail
• stress special events & people will look forward to checking on your website
• ask Secretary what the most “asked” questions he/she receives
• post directions to your fair or the website
• advertise & ask for vendors by using Facebook and website (post pictures from previous fair)
• challenge getting more Board members to help keep the updates
• have someone designed to photograph events to use on Facebook/website
• make sure special events, e.g. anniversaries are on site well in advance of the event
• outside companies need to be monitored to make sure your messages are posted in “acceptable” time frame
• some have midways that work the web free
• everything posted immediately especially special events should be posted on Facebook
• problem is updating so news is current

Year Round Homecraft Duties
• submit budget for board approval
• 3 meetings/year: 1. Prepare book, 2. Month prior to fair, 3. Post fair
• some meet year round
• prepare food for volunteer meals during the fair
• garage sales two times a year; sell table space
• sell 4-5” pies, not 9”

What is the Ag Society’s Responsibility to the Community?
• supply wholes entertainment for all ages (baby shows, card games)
• opportunities to learn about agriculture (bus kids to fair for activities)
• support community awareness programs, e.g. water festival
• draw community together to celebrate agriculture
• event that fosters a sense of family or homecoming
• involve yourselves with other organizations and clubs within the community
• invite other clubs and organizations for booths
• education
• another question might be “What is the Community’s Responsibility to the Ag Society?”
• everything is based on the rural community
• non-profit organization spends what it makes
• educate the community
• surprised at how many kids don’t know where their food comes from
• other clubs are important to get involved
• treat your volunteers well
• build a building for the community
• good relations with the politicians
• public relations is good
• groups involved (as many as possible)

Orientation for New Directors, Committee Chairs, and Volunteers
• have orientation night
• welcome mentioning them
• having a go to person to get assigned jobs and job description
• send out information to them
• have fun to engage them

How To Get Volunteers
• Incentives
• volunteer hours for high school students
• Online Connections
• Post in appropriate Facebook groups ( e.g. Lions club)
• Asking members of the community to participate in your fair
• Allow to participate in conversations offering suggestions and ideas
• Food tickets
• Kids are given passes if help out
• Give ride tickets to younger helpers
• Need younger person to go into high schools to encourage hours- go to schools at lunch hour.

Changing Up Your Prize Book? How?
• change design
• put pictures in from past year
• online
• get sponsor to help pay for book
• put in a nice ad. Use business card
• change font to one can read better
• put books in library and post office
• put books in schools
• put out preliminary book
• pay for ads a year ahead
• category to design cover for prize book
• Canning “One of Our Own” –put in a certain recipe and a category is made
• some auction off a certain category
• pick up books at convenience stores or online
• try 2 year books
• nail art –paint your nails and take picture then display the picture
• computer generated picture for all grades
• for photos go to dentist to sponsor for a smile an electric toothbrush
• adult colour page
• be aware of ethnic groups moving into area and add categories
• make sure there are men’s categories (put in recipes for them)
• just bring a piece of pie
• font size –think about aging demographics
• book printed in newspaper
• go through your mailing list to see who should be added or deleted
• centre fold in colour from appreciation night
• ask “Can we email your fair book?”
• box space –shade behind
• paper weight drop makes difference in mailing; saves on printing; book closes better
• deliver most books
• seminar suggestion: fair book critique
• Access information on other Websites
• Advertise on your Website
• colour vs. black and white
• Port Perry print gets ads & keeps the dollars raised
• Scugog Standard with ads and giving the colour prize book
• Online entries with Pay Pal- West Niagara
• Sell ads in the prize book to cover the cost of the book.

Great Ways to Market Your Fair
• Facebook page for fair; can see who is looking at your page
• contest: if you like and share the fair’s Facebook page, you are entered in a contest for free tickets
• local newspaper; pre fair advertising; after fair picture; results of competitions
• local radio and talk shows
• Facebook photo of a lamb: guess the weight of the lamb and win free passes to fair
• local cable TV –take examples of exhibits: homecraft, mini horses in the studio, or Belgians in the Cable TV parking lot
• know your market to direct your message
• problem with midway hurt fair; don’t focus on it but look at other aspects
• get online to pre sell tickets
• getting to mid twenties/thirties group –interested in old ways, preserving, canning knitting
• urban agricultural focus –where is your food grown?
• very popular –teaching sessions encourage entries at fair time
• social media has to be maintained at all times not just during fair time –key is to keep Positive once per week during year
• do posters work? It is just for very local business. Buttons? As long as you have them in advance.
• twitter, timbler, Facebook, pintrest –key to get young people involved and take ownership
• Tag and Brag –during fair team went around grounds and took pictures that were tagged on social media sites
• tray mats at restaurants –very good in smaller towns
• “TV” ads with restaurants, Service Ontario, etc.
• media connections –try to get local papers and TV/radio stations partnered with you.
• Some fairs have been able to get paper to print their prize book.
• seminar suggestion: Media Relations: Hoe to Get Connections & How to Talk to Them.......
• Facebook, social media, Instagram
• Electronic billboard
• 4 signs one each direction of town
• Website
• Posters- everywhere
• Colouring pictures distributed to schools – Students get in free
• Wendy’s MacDonald’s- tray liners
• Mascot
• School tours
• Free passes to schools
• Free event advertise on radio, TV
• Tourism Bureaus- with a rack card
• Dress up calves and kids Holstein show, beef show

What Do you Do Throughout The Year ?
• Fundraising- bingo, BBQ, 4H banquet, winter storage, Farmer’s Market, Dinner Theatre
• Ladies Night – dinner , silent auction, Yuk Yuk’s or musician- best dressed theme
• Santa Claus Parade
• horse track
• facilities rental- weddings, retirement parties, soccer fields
• jamboree, dinner – monthly
• Fiddle and step dance
• scholarship for school
• funds for Ambassador
• Home and Garden show
• pumpkin Festival
• Volunteer appreciation night
• Winter carnival- family fun, ice sculptures, wagon ride
• work with Community food bank
• chocolate bar bingo ( Acton fair)
• Arts & crafts festival
• vintage snowmobile ride
• Octoberfest
• Truck pull- show& shine
• Trivial contest – in May
• fashion show
• quilting- squares made to be judged at fair- quilt committee constructs for next year’s raffle
• Flea Market
• Car bingo
• Euchre and card games
• Men’s night- cater, speaker
• Comic book display
• Video dance
• Western weekend
• Car draw- sell tickets- elimination draw
• Whole community yard sale in barns
• Haunted house (labour intensive)
• Battle of the bands
• Bring on spring- go to schools plant beans

How To Keep Agriculture Alive In Small Fairs
• Get into schools- develop contact
• Use 4-H
• Displays
• Get old Farmers to sit and chat
• Students for volunteer hours and groom them into the programs

Making Big Changes To The Fairs’s Traditional Schedule Of Events
• Putting a budget in place
• What makes money vs. what doesn’t make money?
• No admission for children under 12
• Social media
• Involve youth groups
• Open Mic for inexpensive entertainment

How to Keep Agriculture Alive at Small Fairs
• declining livestock numbers at the fairs
• fair (Dryden) moved locations to add a demolition truck/tractor pull which draws the crowds
• incorporate Ag information into the local classrooms
• work as much as possible with local Ag Community
• 4-H can use facilities at no charge and have a “slaughter sale”
• different experiences around the table, some have great cattle numbers, not great heavy horse numbers
• have to diversify within livestock categories and increase prize money
• it is the extra entertainment –demo derby, etc. –that draws people in so they can explore the Ag component
• use petting zoos
• sheep shearing demonstration –touchy feely type of exhibit brings the kids in
• straw maze
• focus on bringing young families –teens aren’t as interested in the Ag component
• 4-H northfest (Lakefield) preach day –free to come in
• let them use buildings at no charge
• ag awareness (egg farmers/dairy) go to bigger fairs
• bigger fairs get more attention
• corporate sponsors want bigger fairs
• smaller fairs feel like they aren’t included in many events (even convention topics include large events)

Volunteer Appreciation: What Keeps Them Coming Back
• feed the volunteers
• show respect for what they do
• reward them for the volunteer work
• Director appreciation only
• activity driven
• social events
• social activities
• freeing up money to help them go to Convention
• reward
• respect
• support members at Convention
• volunteer appreciation night prior to the fair during the week (volunteers and sponsors) by invitation to previous volunteers
• At the fair meals (sandwiches etc. to snack on)
• Stratford has no admission
• all bar tips go to upkeep of fair
• Volunteer Appreciation Day- card games, kid’s games and caterer
• meal tickets worth $3.oo off meal
• Hospitality room-snacks etc. (4 meal tickets for 4 days)
• Food vouchers that must be used at the fair board food booth