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2020 Convention

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

See you Feb. 13-15, 2020

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

Book your Hotel Rooms starting MAY 1ST 

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Year Round Fundraising Ideas:

  • Garden Tour Lunches
  • 50/50 tickets- share the wealth
  • Catch the Ace
  • Cash Calendars
  • Meals for Meeting - Catering
  • Theatre night
  • Euchre Night
  • Trivia night
  • Irish Entertainment
  • Salad Luncheon – May
  • Chicken Dinner
  • Paint/Craft Night
  • Scrap Booking
  • Jamborees music dinner
  • Wing night
  • Movie night
  • Breakfast on the farm
  • Auctions (need lottery license) .25 $1.00
  • "friends of the fair" use them to fundraise and donate back to Ag Society
  • Silent Auctions
  • Dinners
  • Seasonal events (Easter egg hunts etc)
  • Laser Tag
  • Craft show "Art in the Barn"
  • Video dance
  • Wreath making
  • Fun night for families; cake making, bouncy castle raffle, pizza
  • Donations instead of entrance
  • Pancake breakfast
  • Campground (hire maintenance person)
  • Entrance fee
  • Farm to table meal in barn or tent

Common Courtesy Re Fair email inbox and voicemail year round

  • Communicate with other board members
  • Go to the administration
  • Automated message around fair time to say ' Go to Website" for information
  • Social media/websites one person
  • Secretary to direct emails to right committee
  • Designated emails to directors/committees
  • Sponsorship – what they expect in return
  • Bank branches- employee contact
  • Facebook
  • Promote vendors
  • Thank sponsors
  • Always answer an email that comes in to your advertised email
  • Needs administration i.e. "voicemail answered once a week"
  • Sent to secretary
  • Example emails: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. can be transferred to new pres/sec as positions change
  • Prompt replies
  • Specific fair phone # can be forwarded
  • Keep current
  • Check regularly
  • Message on voicemail that for an immediate response send email
  • Always quick response to emails to ensure they know you got it and how you are dealing with it
  • Should possibly have a fair email only – can all executive be reached through this
  • Chimp mail – a good free tool
  • Getting back quickly
  • Email for president, secretary, treasurer
  • Info line
  • Checking email and voicemail weekly
  • Letting people know how often you check voicemail and email
  • Posted information on website
  • Send to those involved
  • Give them a response
  • Polite
  • Answer often
  • Clear precise answers; be direct

How do you see your fair in the future?

  • Subcommittee – focus only on fair, engaging youth volunteers
  • Jr. Directors – under 25 yrs – keep Ambassadors on after their year
  • Charity # vs. Not-for-profit
  • Change is hard but needed
  • Fairs folding or ending – no help
  • Not existing
  • joint fairs community fairs
  • what to do about midway
  • craft beer
  • frog jump
  • JR. Farmers do games
  • Look for cheaper insurance comp
  • Renovate for accessibility
  • Low cost fundraising ideas
  • Trying to get grants
  • Renovations
  • Sheep riding (weight restrictions )
  • Pet show
  • Demolition derby

Dealing with Municipalities: tips, hurdles and successes

  • Frustrating, slow process
  • Regulations and rules excessive
  • Complicated relationships
  • More long term planning, cooperatively
  • A lot of legal responsibility – pro bono lawyer to help
  • Invite counsellors to meeting, advise and ideas
  • Tips – working with them for grant help
  • Try a give and take program
  • Try and help provide work to help make this town look better
  • Business Improvement Association could be used to promote the fair
  • Keep a written documentation for the municipality to look back on
  • Document all deals between municipalities and fair board
  • Shared property needs to be insured by somebody
  • Hurdles:
    • bleachers – only some covered by municipality
    • Piece of land, ownership. Had an eager friend help with the conflict of ownership. Some lease, some own
  • Successes
    • Mayor came to open fair
    • Gave a table for free
    • Have counsellors join fair, created good relationships
    • AGM is a dinner and includes volunteers and members
  • Go to municipality chamber meetings regularly and share good news rather than simply when asking for or applying for funding
  • Event – recognize specific sponsors- have a booth/spot at the fair or on day of an event
  • Invite dignitaries – MP, MPP, have fun competitions
  • Get grants if possible
  • Hurdle possible with temporary permits
  • Some communities have local counsellors who help and support fairs
  • Difficulties not owning their own fair properties
  • Have agreements between Ag Society/municipalities
  • By-laws
  • Depends on municipality
  • Talk to council
  • Be friends with counsellor
  • Two way street
  • Apply for community grants
  • SEAT –Special Events Advisory Team in one room, present idea there (police, EMS, etc.)
  • Local counsellor
  • $5000 education barn built
  • Communication is key
  • Work together with township, counsellors, let them use grounds for other events
  • Set bar high, be proactive, & communicative
  • Set expectations high
  • Actively apply for funds through Trillium, etc.
  • Fair seen as a marketing tool for the town
  • Tie in other businesses with an agricultural component (wineries, etc.)
  • have church/groups come in and keep profits
  • Attend council meetings
  • Make sure to have rule book handy
  • Invite city exec/mayor to meet with executive on regular basis
  • For grants give grant writer a percentage of grant to have the onus on them
  • Have a local councillor on the Board at one fair so this aids with the relationship
  • Located in 2 townships/municipalities presents challenges
  • Going to OAAS to help when navigating legal issues/need help advocating
  • Look for grants within 4-H, municipal, provincial & federal government to support programming at fair
  • Rent out buildings, put artificial turf in to run soccer programming, or other sports programming/events
  • Set up meetings and be proactive so relationships don't tarnish
  • Become an expert on bylaws so you have a thorough knowledge/understanding of expectations & don't run into issues –be proactive
  • Go to our local MP so they can represent/give a voice to your organization

Market your fair and events

  • Contests – post results and winners
  • Visibility year round
  • Qcodes instead of popsicle sticks
  • Post and share contests
  • Cooperative with sponsors for advertising
  • Social media is being used at low cost by younger members helping
  • Prize books are put on website versus a book
  • Some fairs have new exhibitor prizes that would help people compete
  • Cut the fair book into sections for downloading purposes
  • Word of mouth can still be used as some new people in the community don't know about it
  • Use a trade show to promote your fair on their website
  • Keep a good attraction for entertainment 2 – 3 years
  • Local newspapers – approximately $500 - $1200 per year total print media
  • Media – Facebook/Instagram/twitter
  • On Route summer fun guide
  • Hootsuite – allows multiple posts and scheduling
  • Website – Junior – flyer links them to a website instead of a book
  • Radio – still majority of advertising dollars
  • Place mats for local restaurants, outside advertising
  • Schedule of fair (maybe for one month)
  • Signs – same as politicians – see laws /bylaws
  • Community competitions
    • Signage
    • Store front
    • Scarecrow competition
    • Yard sales (signs?)
  • Facebook
  • Posters
  • Road signs and lawn signs
  • Community paper
  • Flyers and books to schools
  • Radio station
  • Farmers market
  • Social media – Facebook, Instagram, twitter, website
  • Local paper
  • Radio ads
  • Clothing (hats, shirts)
  • Coasters, placemats,
  • Signage (roads, bale decorating) give participants signs to use
  • Fair theme
  • Trying to find cost effective ways
  • Get younger generations involved in the marketing and advertising
  • Have someone who knows the audience
  • Interactive activities, have surveys
  • Pay for advertising, just a little $6 can reach 3000 people
  • Subscribe to Google Ad Words close to the time of your fair
  • Subscribe to Google My Business
  • Multi-pronged marketing committee: Facebook videos, signage, webmaster Instagram, decorations around town, Twitter, YouTube, radio (priority on places who will give you interviews)
  • YouTube channel links to webpage
  • Ambassadors take on social media role –Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
  • Scarecrow competition prior to fair on fairgoer's lawn, put up fair sign on their lawn, prize money (inexpensive way to advertise)
  • Newspaper
  • Brochures
  • Drive to neighbouring towns, present on your fair
  • Being visible in your community at other community events
  • Keep telling your story, promoting, word of mouth
  • Signage at fair –support charities, charge fair just cost of materials
  • "Farmers' Stag" –men's night
  • Medium (group psychic medium)
  • Bags of seed prizes (elevator donations)
  • Trailer pins (prizes)
  • Pizza box toppers
  • Postcards (e-print fast) –put in doors & redeem at fair
  • Ambassador program: current year nominates; $500 bursary, small business sponsors their own to compete
  • Do you believe in your fair?
  • Share ads into buy & sell groups
  • Open mics at bars/pubs
  • Father-daughter dance (Dundalk)

Implementing change – how to gain support

  • Big change – beer garden
    • Lessons – insurance, security, run by fire department
  • Don't have the manpower
  • Traditional board – beer cans; changing stereotype
  • New changes to the liquor license (was $75, now $150/day)
  • Tips – have answers to questions ahead of time – example – manpower, costs
  • Quilt draw replaced with "Catch the ace"
    • 50/50 draw weekly; 20% cash; 30, progressive draw; $9800 gross profit vs $1,200
    • How was it sold – did a practice run during a meeting so members could understand how it works (new to OLG). Lots of talk young and old members. Key is there is no bad idea; equal respect
    • Young – new idea
    • Give a budget; don't shut them down – help them develop a plan
  • Hard to implement new marketing strategy with reserved seating in grandstand
  • Dealing with fair on same weekend as Thanksgiving/other fair
  • No wristbands; a stamp on the way out
  • Wear name tags/t-shirts
  • Board is resilient won't open up to change
  • Bring options and support
  • Young people – delegate for the change and support them
  • Find new themes to gear to younger/new generations
  • ID concerns
  • Provide options
  • Have discussions with groups
  • Make group plans to change concerns
  • Don't strongarm change
  • Round tables
  • Do homework a concern before round table
  • Lead others into thinking it was their idea
  • Suggest to change the exhibit building – a craft for special needs
  • Took a price survey of the table to see what an average price for the fair pass
  • Use exhibitors to help with kids program
  • Ticket promotion with a draw
  • School promotion to get family there
  • Rent equipment to take the money is successful in some areas
  • Don't be a bully –don't force people into the change because pushing an agenda doesn't work –pre-acceptance is key
  • Pre-planning your Board potential
  • "any idea is a good idea –just a matter of when"
  • Finding relatable topics to address members is beneficial to people's understanding
  • Board solidarity –decisions are decision "as a Board"
  • Age of technology –debit machines (Boards are concerned with fees); demographic tracking (scanning attendance) -makes planning for future easier
  • Are wristbands becoming obsolete?
  • SWORD (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Resources, Deficiencies)
  • Assessments are Key!!!
  • Have to adapt to current things
  • Recruitment of new people
  • New programs for younger people
  • Ambassadors –use to promote new ideas
  • Bring in new programs –educational: Dairy Farms

Roles and responsibilities of Junior Directors

  • Assist
  • Take tickets
  • Help committees
  • Given small jobs around the fair
  • Give input on younger people
  • Come to a few meetings per year
  • Running events
  • Tours of grounds or barns
  • Answer questions
  • Check in with director
  • Attend AGM and one other meeting
  • Help set up and clean up
  • Junior directors are under 40
  • Weren't many junior directors
  • Needs more promotion
  • Insurance for juniors
  • Special program to get younger kids involved
  • Can't vote before 18
  • Ambassador on the board
  • Have a defined age group that constitutes a junior director (each fair might be different)
  • Have them listed in fair book
  • Have them work with experienced people
  • Roles – put them where best suited, where are their interests
  • Put junior directors in charge of an area – education tents, encourage them to plan an event
  • Ask for input from them
  • Have roles and responsibilities visible on the website

Volunteer coordinator

  • Need a volunteer coordinator to recruit volunteers
  • High schools to gain volunteers to get community service hours
  • Have money available for volunteer appreciation dinner/evening (through sponsorship or in budget)
  • Coordinator directs volunteers, waivers are signed, put young volunteers with older ones
  • Makes sure everyone is included, circulates to ensure everyone has a job
  • Volunteers need a way to communicate with coordinator (2-way radio/cell phones)
  • Coordinator should be outgoing, works well with others
  • High school volunteers – go directly to school, talk to guidance counsellors to get the word out
  • Deals with letters, communication
  • Same, consistent contact
  • Organization
  • Manages volunteers
  • Get lots of volunteers
  • Takes pressure off committees
  • Direct contact for the volunteers
  • Putting up signs
  • Advertising
  • Excellent value
  • Could be a volunteer position or part of paid staff job
  • Community service hours
  • Word of mouth recruitment
  • Need coordinator so volunteers have leadership
  • Go to guidance councillor
  • To keep volunteers
    • Happy
    • Healthy
    • Safe
    • Interaction with old and new
  • Need waiver under 18 and adult waiver
  • Sign in and out to track hours and insurance purposes

School Programs & Your Fair… How to Get Teachers Motivated to Participate

  • Ag Awareness days
  • Develop high school credit program e.g. Palmerston Ag Society/ Norwell District Secondary School "LEAF"
  • AgScape –resources free
  • Make it a prize to win most points if surrounded by multiple schools
  • Give free passes to school/school kids get in for free
  • Go into schools to promote fair and ag programs
  • Run healthy kids program/ familiarize with food guide
  • Passport program for student to complete/teachers to have
  • Farmer Olympics -8 schools competed (urban schools) teams of 4, got high schoolers out –bail toss/water/sawdust Olympics
  • 4-H fall fair club –club would run (very interactive) to get kids engaged, transitioned to school Ag Days –animals, tractor pull, engaged teachers
  • Hand out fair prize book, specifically the school section
  • use school programs, i.e. Photography club from high school comes & takes pictures; Algoma College students develop survey, comes, does survey, and send results
  • Friday 4-H Day, Cattle show –students come on field trip and Ag awareness stations with students rotating through (Gr. 1-8, age-appropriate stations)
  • Gr. 3's -12 stations set up with commodity groups, safety -20 min. per station
  • Dairy education program, dairy educators come; milk cows and other live animals; vet; local mill discuss what cows have to eat to produce milk (mostly Gr 3's)
  • Dairy ed. Program could go on while set up is happening
  • Animals in program are vaccinated for rabies as precaution
  • Farm safety programs
  • Colouring book for kids
  • Tractor and wagon to attract kids –charge $5 per kid
  • Get one teacher with Ag background on board, get the whole school
  • Environmental awareness & empower student involvement
  • Get teacher to advocate, send video or social media to capture attention
  • Farmers are steward of the environment, starts with students

What is an Agricultural Society's Responsibility to the Community?

  • Education-visual is important
  • (con) Board Members with an agenda is a problem
  • Homecoming –re fair attendance
  • Family days
  • Awareness
  • Bridge from Farm to Table
  • Does the community know how much goes in besides the fair?
  • Are there other events that allow the community to visualize what the Society does as a whole?
  • Sponsoring local projects
  • Municipality involvement –having positive relationships goes a long way to solving potential issues
  • Ambassadors –positive influence in the community
  • Communities support communities
  • Supporting local –when sponsors support you; you support them
  • Themes:
    − President's Dinner –meet & greet with sponsors, volunteers, municipality officials
    − Breakfast on the Farm –joining with local farmers and companies to give education and a great fundraiser
    − Farm to Table –tent with catered event: promote the Society, share expenses (revenue generator), *Elegant Event*- getting outside the bubble (you had to broaden outside your normal supporters)
    − Barn dances
    − Chicken wing night
    − Corn roast

Online Prize books –Pros and Cons

Pros

  • easy to change
  • no mailing costs
  • cheaper
  • more efficiencies and accessibility for entries
  • more environmentally friendly
  • use systems at your own pace
  • can track/transition positioning

Cons

  • can't distribute in community
  • lose sponsors
  • lose exhibitors
  • resistance from generation
  • PDF not accessible through AssistExpo
  • Time commitment to set up to implement all the info
  • Can discourage older volunteers
  • Specialized books for e.g. Juniors, culinary arts, handcrafts etc.