Friday, August 08, 2008

Fair Ideas

The article I posted here on Sunday about the Fair brought out some passion from the readers. I also got an email from a member of the Fair Board inviting me for a chat, so I took some time earlier this week to visit with him. We talked about how important the Fair is to our community and how ideas for improvement are bounced around and tried. There may be a future open house where people can see what is really going on at the Fair Grounds and get a chance to speak with the Board members without attending a Fair Board meeting.

The fair is on good financial feet at least for the next two years. The Fair actually makes some money. With the assistance of lottery funds. But there is room for improvement when it comes to attendance.

The music offerings this year were spectacular, and it was promoted on the local contemporary rock station, as opposed to having only Country music and promoting it on the Country station.

A funny aside, someone asked me which band was on the stage at one point, and I saw Spud up there playing and I came back stating that I really didn’t know because Spud plays in all the local groups so it’s hard to tell.

Anyway, I told the Board member I spoke with that I’d solicit ideas from the readers here. Below are some ideas from the last post. And if you’re reading from elsewhere in the country, what works at your local County Fairs?

1. Promote as a place to catch up with friends you only ever run into at the Fair.
2. Ice Rink
3. Free Parking / Shuttle buses
4. Partner with Port and try to schedule a cruise ship during Fair time.
5. Survey what people would like (and I’ll add do it on line and have a prize for the three best suggestions)
6. Have a Gladiator spectacle show, ( a pro wrestling show may do it or a professional martial arts show)
7. A Roller Rink
8. Spelling Bee
9. Large produce competition
10. How about the local chorale, symphony and brass ensembles? What about local school bands.
11. How about the local schools showing off the good things they do.

To me local community involvement. The County should have a booth where people can meet the Commissioners, and other County leaders. Any other suggestions out there?



Anonymous Stephanie said...

I like a day where admission is free or reduced. Our family loved the toddler tent and rock wall. We would like to see more interactive boths that didn't cost an arm and a leg to do. Maybe a teen night, entertainment and like a small party. We loved a mud truck competion while in Newport one year. In fact, the Lincoln County Fair has been wonderful everytime we go, maybe an example? In fact Lincoln County has a leg up over Clatsop in my eyes....

8:11 AM  
Blogger pril said...

hey that picture's from my flickr! haha! How cool!

9:34 AM  
Blogger pril said...

You know, maybe they should talk to the Tulelake-Butte Valley fair people. Their fair really rakes it in. But in this part of the state (although T-BV is in CA) agriculture is still daily life for a big part of the population, and the livestock aspect of the fair is one of the biggest draws.

9:37 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Thanks Stephanie, comparing what works with the neighbors is a good idea.

Pril, I thought In got that from an Aussie Blogger. I just realized that I never subscribed to your blog, and that has been remedied.

All is Fair ; ) Tillamook is a bigger ag based economy than ours and their fair is very successful. We need diversity to attract those who don't appreciate a good hog when they see one.

9:49 AM  
Blogger pril said...

The Guy, I have the same picture on mine :) It's off a postcard my dad sent me from Beijing in 1976.

There's rarely anything remotely interesting on my blog, but thanks for subscribing!

9:52 AM  
Blogger weese said...

has anyone mentioned beer yet?

10:21 AM  
Anonymous cb said...

There used to be a teen dance on Friday night (or the night before auction if auction was Sunday, as it was in old) and that was pretty successful. Maybe teen dance until 11 PM and then adult dance until 1 or 2. Don't tell me neighbors will complain, I am the neighbors and we hear music and Fair effects until one or two one way or the other (plus music until 1 am on weekends almost all summer long w/whoever is renting the facility) and we haven't complained yet.

Get the Granges involved! No fee for them to have a booth boasting their grange community. Let them compete.

Have crowd pick best booth that follows theme in its decorations.

Let locals get booths up through June. March cut off is WAY too early.

Have door prizes of substance. If fair is making money then give away 1/2 pig or 1/4 steer as door/entrance prizes. With one pig and one steer there would be six prizes, one for each day of fair and two on the final day. One raffle ticket per adult entrance ticket. No buying additional tickets. Keeps it "fair" so everyone has an equal chance of winning each day.

The talent show was a surprisingly great draw! And surprisingly great amount of talent! No fidget-the-midget embarrassments. This one is a keeper, for sure. Short olios from Shanghaied, or other local vaudeville acts (bzzz, bzzz, bzzz?)

Commissioner/DA/City council/fair board/college board/sheriff dunk tank (wow, wouldn't that one be a draw and money maker!)

The two day health fair that was there the last year that Denny was there and the two day craft fair were big draws.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Klages said...

I bet the community would enjoy and support a 4H/FFA Farmers Market for the week. The kids could sell what they grow and produce. I would love that!

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about strippers Guy? You the ones that used to come to town with the circuses. Now there is a fond memory. To the bump and grind tune of...

I told her (Madam Ruth) that I was a flop with chicks.
I've been that way since Nineteen Fifty Six.
She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign.
She said, "What you need is Love Potion Number Nine." asked.


4:26 PM  
Anonymous g said...

Weese: Beer.

Guy: I love listening to Spud. He's one of the best mandolin players I've ever heard. He does a killer job singing "My Rhinoceros"

6:22 PM  
Blogger richpix said...

Jumping straight to an answer without reading the responses with some off the top of my head ideas:

A parade through town leading to the fairgrounds with floats and a competition for the best entries.

More things that involve the fairgoers, rather than have them be observers.

Have local hotels, motels and B&Bs give fair tickets to their guests. Maybe give them a discount on bulk purchases.

BMX bicycle races.

A skateboarding event.

Fer cryin' out loud put a map and directions up on the county fair web site:

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to echo another anon up above and go with a sure thing. Yeah, that's right

"Hoochie Dancers"

Been a part of the nightime festival scene since we lived in caves and at no time has humanity had to endure life on Earth without comely young women trained and experienced in art of dancing provocatively. It's a right of passage for every young fella from any culture-be he a hick from the sticks catching a traveling show at the carnival or fair, or a sophisticated urbanite going to one them fancy places. It's all the same deal. You want a bunch of young men to show up and spend money?

(cue the saxophone intro)

I went and bought myself a ticket and
I sat down in the very first row, wo wo.
They pulled the curtain but then when
they turned the spotlight way down low, wo wo,
little Egypt came out strutting,
wearing nothing but a button and a bow, wo wo,
singing, "Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah''.

She had a ruby on her tummy and
a diamond big as Texas on her toe, wo wo.
She let her hair down and
she did the hoochie koochie real slow, wo wo,
When she did her special number on a zebra skin,
I thought she'd stop the show, wo wo,
singing, "Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah!".

She did a triple somersault and when she hit the ground,
she winked at the audience and then she turned around.
She had a picture of a cowboy tattooed on her spine,
saying Phoenix, Arizona, nineteen forty-nine.

Yeah, but let me tell you people,
little Egypt doesn't dance there anymore, wo wo.
She's too busy mopping and
a taking care of shopping at the store, wo wo.
'Cause we got seven kids and
all day long they crawl around the floor, wo wo,
singing, "Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah!"

9:22 PM  
Anonymous colonel panic said...

beer again.

I think that fairs are broken because the reasons for their existence are extinct:

-Pie Offs. Ok I like pie. But i am not going to come from miles around anymore to sample another woman's pie like i would have back in the early 1900s. Sara Lee lives down at the Winco now. And she's cheap.

-Games of (fat) Chance. Not as many rubes around as there used to be and they seem much smarter now.

-Live entertainment. You don't need to wait all year anymore for Buck Owens and His Band to pull into town. But if they are going to have live entertainment it should be pallooza style and be one band after another, no break in the music. Anything less will narrow the audience. Too many disparate tastes these days. By the way I went to a Tom Jones show one time because I was in Yakima Washington and Tom Jones in Yakima Washington is not like Tom Jones in Portland or even Tom Jones. Special night for me.

-Displays of Animal Husbandry. Ironically this probably still has the most juice left in it but they need to make it less 4h and more Barnum and Bailey. For example the best thing that I saw at the Oregon State Fair a few years ago was a bovine so big that I still wonder if it was fake somehow. I had to actually go touch it and look at it to make sure it was breathing.
And oh yeah I paid 5 or 10 bucks to get in the tent to see it. Cha Ching. I am not exaggerating. That thing had the dimensions of a pole vault landing pad. Somebody please lecture me about the use of artificial growth hormones. I need a buzz kill.

9:25 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Well there we have it. More ideas for the Board.

"Hoochie Dancers?" The fair Board would be pelted with rocks and garbage if they made that change. There are lots of religious folks in this county. Many of them have booths at the fair, and everyone else with booths hope and pray that they don't get stuck next to them because most folks avoid going down that row.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Uncle Walt said...

Hmmmm ... a "red light" Fair District. I can picture it now. Put the "hoochies" at one side of the Fair Grounds, and the religious at the other ... and see which gets the most customers. LOL

Why not combine the lure of beer and animal husbandry? Those Budweiser horses are HUGE! Both in terms of size and drawing power.

7:36 PM  

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