Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies

Proud Heritage-Promising Future

February 2010

Round Table Results


Topic 1: Combining Ag Education with Junior Exhibits

  • Use cd’s, DVD’s and posters from OMAFRA
  • Use Maple the Cow
  • Stage Farmers’ Olympics
  • Promote fair in the area schools
  • Ambassador to visit schools
  • Copy Junior Division section and send it home with the June report cards
  • Use school curriculum to revamp junior section
  • Use bicycles for prizes
  • Have Junior Farmers do demonstrations
  • Use celebrity judges
  • Ask juniors for suggestions
  • Include junior categories for students with special needs
  • Have schools design prize list cover / thank you cards
  • Have classes for the entire family-build a scarecrow
  • Have a community garden on the fair grounds


Topic 2: Using Displays to Promote Livestock, Roots and Vegetables

  • Each building named on a map given to patrons at the gate
  • Permanent directional posts
  • Give each child $15 to enter calves which will promote entries
  • Question and answer sessions in the barn setting
  • Have a sheet telling how the show is judged
  • Increase prize money to encourage entries
  • Farm safety displays
  • Display different seeds
  • Zucchini races
  • Junior gardens on site
  • Make animals out of thistles
  • Make life size board paintings of vegetables with holes cut in them for people to put their head through for photos
  • Have judging schools for livestock
  • Make colourful displays

 
Topic 3: How to keep Fairs informed about the OAAS

  • Fair Secretary MUST distribute and inform members of all correspondence
  • Most information on the website is password protected and some boards do not share the password with their members
  • Make website user friendly
  • District Directors need to be able to be contacted by telephone and email
  • Boards need to invite OAAS directors to their Annual Meetings
  • Fairs need to send people to the District meetings
  • Send an email to all fairs when the Gazette is posted to the site
  • Send out Ambassador information earlier
  • Promote job descriptions for District Directors


Topic 4: What can OAAS do to promote your fair

  • Regular informative letters to the fairs from the District Directors
  • Promote the Ambassador program
  • Set up a question and answer section on the website
  • Promote the fairs in the farm related papers
  • Promote the home craft division
  • More visibility of District Directors
  • More promotion from OAAS about the organization
  • Prepare list of frequently asked questions
  • Would like to see District Directors involved at the fairs
  • Provide more brochures and prize books

Topic 5: Educate and Encouraging Hand Washing

  • Demonstrations using germ simulations and black light for children
  • Show DVD’s on proper hand washing
  • Hand out samples of sanitizers
  • Set up stations near food venders, gates and barns
  • Signage
  • Target your audience-promote washing with funny songs for children
  • Promote in your fair advertising
  • Get sponsorships for washing stations

Topic 6: How to Revamp the Convention

  • Rotate seminar topics
  • Use more controversial topics
  • Allow for daily registrations
  • Allow for more networking time
  • Send AGM resolutions out to fairs so grass roots can participate
  • Record seminars and theme speakers for DVD use
  • Do we need the craft room?
  • Allow time on Thursday for Districts to meet
  • Have a regional meeting with several Districts
  • Put photography section on-line
  • Have a dress code for the Directors- this is a business
  • Don’t use balloons to decorate-people have latex allergies
  • Take fair attendance at AGM
  • If the fee goes up, more services should be provided
  • Start later on Saturday morning
  • Keep all of the information in the program together by the day-do have different subject sections
  • Have sign in lobby direction delegates to the Convention Floor
  • Put directional signage at the elevators on the MM floor directing people to the rooms. This floor is confusing.
  • Presidents’ reception was 200% better this year
  • Too much being held on Friday-not enough time if AGM speaker is to talk so long again
  • Use Canadian theme speakers!
  • Use bigger rooms for “hot topic” presentations on Friday

Topic 6: How to Revamp the Convention-continued

  • Ambassador program was better on Thursday as they had a chance to mingle. Fantastic!
  • Bring back a continental breakfast
  • Ensure home craft is not lost at the convention
  • Some of the round table topics would be good seminar topics next year
  • Post room numbers at registration desk for hospitality rooms
  • Should notify delegates in advance of any potential problems-parking was not good because of the movie shoot
  • AGM speaker was too long-many people left before the Secretary’s award
  • Move Secretary’s award to the beginning of the AGM so people will be there so see it.
  • Do we really need a speaker at the AGM
  • Need tables back on Thursday night
  • Offer more at the Showcase than just singing
  • Pod casting sessions should be explored
  • Younger presidents at the fair level do not understand the important link to OAAS
  • Craft room needs to be open longer
  • Not enough time to see and do everything
  • Realign the budget to reduce delegate costs
  • Guest pass for family of award winning Secretary
  • Offer a youth program-not just an Ambassador
  • Security issue-who was filming the Ambassadors on Friday night
  • Need a single day registration fee
  • Offer food at the reception
  • Keep content relevant and appropriate for all people
  • Ambassador ice breaker too long / same thing every year / no changes since 2001
  • Improve Ambassador seminars-current issues should be covered instead of telling them how to walk / sit
  • Allow Ambassadors to provide feedback. If they did, the program would change
  • Seek out more sponsorship –ask other provincial conventions how they do it?
  • Sound systems were better this year

Topic 7: How to Respond to Animal Rights Groups

  • Educate public- don’t force opinions on visitors
  • Make sure visitors see that animals are cared for properly
  • Education is the key to proper attitude
  • Use OFAC to educate boards / directors on how to handle rights groups
  • Prepare an emergency kit for animal displacement
  • Don’t confront activities
  • Have them removed if they create a scene
  • Spray paint over their graffiti
  • Meet with activists to explain show rules
  • Research activist groups ahead of time
  • Watch for paid protestors
  • Educate volunteers / staff
  • Have one person designated to speak to media
  • More urban problems than rural
  • Document all activities, take pictures for defense support
  • Prepare notice of trespass letters
  • Video record the protest
  • Ensure local vet and animal owners are on-site
  • Exercise “Do Diligence”
  • Have two way radios available
  • Include protests in the fair emergency plan

Topic 8: Demonstrations that Add Interest to the Fair

  • Sheep shearing
  • Baking pies
  • Sewing machines for home craft displays
  • Pampered Chef
  • Local history talks
  • Pottery
  • Milking a cow / goat
  • Honey bee frames
  • Maple syrup judging
  • Knitting, sewing and quilting
  • Wood carving / wood burning
  • Master gardener
  • 4-H Achievement days
  • Invite schools to the fair before it opens to the public
  • Blacksmithing
  • Calligraphy
  • Cosmetics
  • Spelling bee
  • Highland dancing
  • Pioneer antique show
  • Horticultural-how to grow flowers / how to display flowers
  • Judging school for entrants-allow them to taste the winners
  • Making ice cream
  • Soft food demonstration / making apple cider
  • Shoeing and harnessing horses
  • Auto extrication displays by fire departments
  • Egg display
  • RCMP Musical Ride
  • OPP Golden Helmets
  • Model railroad
  • Ontario Power Generation
  • Hand made jewelry
  • Loom weaving
  • Rug hookers
  • 100 mile diet
  • Children’s colouring contest
  • Blindfolded musical chairs
  • Scrap booking
  • Potato digging-6 varieties-match to pictures
  • Guitar hero
  • Air bands
  • Skateboard tricks
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Farmer’s Market

Topic 9: Junior Directors-Responsibilities and Recognition

  • Use them where they are interested
  • Need to be encouraged and mentored, not baby sat
  • Have junior achievement day
  • Give them ribbons to acknowledge support
  • Have 4-H club dedicated to the fair
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Nothing financial
  • Count time for community service
  • List names in prize list
  • Physical labour support
  • Office help
  • Monitor home craft halls
  • Pizza party recognition
  • Awards dinner recognition
  • Give them midway tickets

Topic 10: Concerns of small fairs (smaller than $2000 gates)

  • Share resources between neighbouring fairs
  • Lack of midway support
  • Problems drawing urban support
  • Lack of support from government
  • Use animal shows and local acts instead of midways
  • Remind local people about the fair
  • How to get exhibitors, visitors and volunteers
  • Use inflatables instead of midways
  • Have bed races and bike races
  • Have a volleyball tournament
  • Sponsor a chess contest
  • Oreo cookie stacking contest
  • Have a blind folded husband driving a lawn mower and his wife directing him

Topic 11: What to Do when Hiring Children’s Entertainment

  • Get references
  • Do they have a criminal check?

Topic 12: Fair Websites-what does and does not work

  • OAAS should create a ‘step by step’ guide sheet
  • Don’t make the prize list too long for PDF form
  • Use links to municipality and Parks Canada
  • Do not use a lot of graphics
  • Get sponsors for website
  • Have high school students build it
  • People still use dial up so don’t make it too long
  • Sites must be kept current
  • Keep information in sections
  • Promote the web address
  • Vendor applications, entry forms and surveys could be printed off earlier
  • Incorporate a face book link
  • Post prize list earlier (3-4 months)

Topic 13: What Makes A Successful Fair

  • Organization
  • Good leadership
  • Clear lines of communication
  • Follow through on all issues
  • Openness between Ag and Home craft groups
  • Motivational speaker to address the Board if the older directors are reluctant to allow younger directors to say anything
  • One person speaks at a time
  • Use ‘Roberts Rules of Order’
  • Lots of Volunteers
  • Continuity
  • New attractions
  • Restrict length for term of office
  • Print an agenda
  • Limit time on meetings
  • Everyone has an equal voice
  • Don’t let Secretary control issues
  • Listen, listen, and listen some more
  • Be respectful
  • Don’t be afraid of change
  • Give new ideas time to grow
  • Meet regularly
  • Create a director’s handbook
  • Directors must be willing to become Executives
  • Celebrate and thank volunteers
  • Ensure that Directors who do not attend meetings do not stay on as Directors
  • Advertise for new members

Topic 14: How to Embrace & Benefit from Ethnic Diversity

  • Approach schools of ethnic diversity for artwork
  • Schools of Dance
  • Ask for parade participants
  • Add classes for native displays, jewelry, crafts and baking
  • Have ethnic food booths and venders
  • Use ethnic entertainers-Northern Lights Steel band from Sundridge
  • Google different ethnic ideas

Topic 15: What is ‘fair’ remuneration?

  • Some have honorariums, contracts and stipends
  • No set formula
  • Many are under valued
  • Depends on what the Board can afford
  • Each position needs a job description which must be reviewed annually
  • Ensure staff keeps up with technology
  • Letters of employment should be used
  • Mileage should be paid
  • Some pay Home craft Judges $10 per hour or $50 per class plus mileage
  • Some pay livestock judges $250 per show plus mileage
  • Secretary and Treasurer must be bonded

Topic 16: Free fun, Novelty Events and Special Attractions

  • Demonstrations by local businesses
  • Children’s corn sandbox
  • Bubble gum blowing
  • Cake decorating
  • Water melon seed spitting contest
  • Haunted house
  • Wheel barrow races
  • Paint an old junk car
  • Frog jumping contests
  • Shoe scramble
  • Best dressed sheep
  • Pet show
  • Farmers’ Olympics
  • Frozen t-shirts: put on a froze rolled up t-shirt
  • Talent shows
  • Cookie stacking
  • Spaghetti eating contest
  • Greased pig contest where the participant’s hands are greased and not the pig
  • Log sawing
  • Apple pealing
  • Building model airplanes
  • Fireman’s games
  • Church services
  • Wii
  • Story time-reading children’s stories
  • Face painting
  • Teddy bear picnic
  • Fashion show
  • Mazes and Needle in the haystack
  • Mini tractor pedal pull
  • Throwing hay bales
  • Treasure hunt
  • Pie in the face
  • Egg drop-it is election year!
  • Wagon rides
  • Lawn bowling
  • Nail driving
  • Beard growing
  • Scare crow building
  • “Mom” calling contest
  • Mutton busting contest

Topic 17: How to Start an Antique Tractor Pull

  • Go to local clubs to see what kind of prizes are given out
  • Make sure prizes are useful to farmers
  • Go to other shows and pass out pamphlets
  • Promote as any other fair event
  • It will take 3-5 years to take off
  • Check for insurance coverage
  • Approach farm dealerships for sponsorships
  • Have a tent available for tractor display area as well
  • Have a modified show as well
  • Go to other fairs to see what they do

Topic 18: How to Make Your Fair Environmentally Friendly

  • Bio-degradable plates and cutlery
  • Monitor waste
  • Recycle
  • Put pictures on the recycle / garbage cans-not words
  • Recycle paper
  • Plant trees on the grounds
  • Hand out sapling trees to people at the gate as they leave the fair
  • Install solar panels
  • Have contest called litter bug: put your name on the garbage and have draws from the garbage can
  • Use recycled paper for prize book
  • Green crafts challenge for kids
  • Use green composting units
  • Set up sorting stations
  • Use souvenir cups instead of Styrofoam
  • Use water bottles that can be refilled
  • Use blue boxes from the municipality
  • Discourage extra wrapping on food products

Topic 19: Where Do We Find Funding?

  • Fund raising events-dances, bingos, dinners, bake sales, raffles, derbies
  • Fund raising events-Ladies Night, Dinner Theatre, truck & ATV pull, teen video dance, lawn mower races
  • Trillium Grants
  • Celebrate Ontario tourism grants
  • Canadian heritage Grants for Cultural Events
  • Grounds rental
  • Partnerships
  • Hydro plans
  • Check Government websites
  • Festivals Ontario
  • Casino sponsorships
  • A lot of paperwork needed to get grants

Topic 20: Updating Prize lists

  • Collect prize books from other fairs to seek out new ideas
  • Give advanced lists to other fairs
  • Update prize list on-line
  • Keep prize money compatible with other fairs
  • Use points per section instead of 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Kids get a prize instead of money
  • Need to stay current
  • Update and distribute list early
  • Committee must update the list-not just the Secretary
  • Pick theme two years ahead of time
  • Split classes to allow for more categories