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GETTING TO KNOW OUR DIRECTORS…………………………………………………. As the newest Associate Director, Vicki Oler Senecal is

a rookie to the Florida Federation of Fairs Board of Direc- tors, but a veteran in this industry. She has attended 33 FFF conventions and starting attending the IAFE conven- tion in Chicago with her parents. Vicki was born into the Fair industry. Her mother Florine

Oler started out as a musician marimba player with a 3-girl act called, “The Happitones” in the 1940s. Her father Wesley started booking acts and building shows in the mid- 1950’s for fairs and conventions. Vicki took over Oler Pro- ductions from her parents and credit their hard work and integrity in making it an easy transition for her to step into their shoes. “Their reputation of booking for quality fairs and festivals has allowed me the opportunity to work in


y Wd er, Aiiy Etran et ae Hny blt netimn Drawing high attendance numbers is a primary interest of every

Fair Board. The question is: How to pull people out of their homes and competing activities and get them to the fairgrounds? High attendance means happier vendors, more people educated in agriculture, more people touched by the whole “Fair Experi- ence.” Those are things we all want. Here are 3 fundamentals to achieving high attendance: 1. CARNIVAL LOCATION This is so elementary, it almost goes without mentioning. That

midway is your greatest roadside advertisement. Position your biggest rides within view of the busiest motor artery that travels by your site. Those bright, flashing lights attract people. We know this in show business. And the casino-builders of Vegas knew this well. Bright colorful lights attract people. Plan your site accordingly. 2. ENTERTAINMENT Your entertainment line-up can attract people. People often

plan on going to a Fair simply because they know a certain act will be there. Of course, this is especially true for Headliner/ Grandstand type shows. However, this sort of entertainment can certainly be out of range budget-wise for many Fairs. As for grounds entertainment, most people simply expect it to

be there. Even if they don’t come to see a specific grounds act, Fair patrons feel very satisfied when they experience a good show. Your professional grounds act is effective in adding a higher QUANTITY of people to your Fair because these attractions add QUALITY to the Fair Experience.

Attractions attract.

3. CIVIC GROUPS This is your answer to ensuring consistent, high and stable at-

tendance at your Fair. Without fail – the Fairs that are successful attendance-wise in-

variably have this one thing in common: HIGH PARTICIPATION BY THE REGION’S CIVIC GROUPS. What sort of community and civic groups represent themselves

at your Fair? We all know that 4H and FFA are the mainstays for Fairs. But what about your Lions Club? Rotary? Exchange Club? Shriners? And then there are Merchant Associations, Schools, Churches, Chambers of Commerce, Youth Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Baseball and Hockey Teams, Veterans Organizations and on and on and on. These groups are your BEST promoters! If you have a “70-something” who happens to be a Shriner, you are a fortunate Fair if you have that man on your grounds. He


this unique industry,” stated Oler-Senecal. In addition to the IAFE she is also a member of IEBA,

CMA, ACM and several state fair/festival associations. In 2007 Vicki accepted the Associate of the Year award on behalf of Oler Productions from the Florida Federation of Fairs. In her spare time Vicki and her partner Zeke Feimster

collect modern art and furnishings from the 1950’s -70’s and enjoy remodeling projects. She loves spending quality time with her children Jami and China Smith and grand- daughter Estella Florine Smith. Vicki looks forward to work- ing with the Federation and fulfilling her new role as an Associate Director.

not only will bring his group, but that man has family – kids and grandkids…and many, many friends who will make it a point to come by and see him at his booth or hamburger stand. And those are your loyal fairgoers! Those are the ones that will spend a whole afternoon on the grounds! Those are the ones that will make a t

rdtoaiin out of the “Fair Experience.” Here is a Marketing Plan for a Fair Manager that could boom his

attendance: Draw up a list of civic groups (4H, FFA, etc.) for your area, Extend it further with all possible churches, youth clubs, sports

teams, professional or trade associations….any and all GROUPS in your town or region. Invite these groups to participate by representing themselves at

your Fair. Tell them that your Fair is on a mission to build com- munity again and their help is needed by participating in some form. Make it easy for them to be involved. Give out some free en-

trance tickets to each group if they are involved. Listen to their ideas and give them freedom to contribute to your event. Let them be your promoters and advertisers. They will tell their members about the Fair. They will also promote to others. Set yourself up as the ONE location in town that hosts ALL civic and volunteer groups, clubs and associations IN ONE PLACE each year to show off and promote themselves. Be an annual showcase for all these groups. Encourage them to promote the Fair and bring all their mem-

bers, friends and family. Book quality entertainment as a reward to all these people who

are putting tradition and community back into your Fair. With this as a basic marketing program, I don’t know how a Manager for a mid-size Fair could go wrong.

his budget allowed. But without word-of-mouth running its course through the community’s civic groups, he will likely have difficulty. Whatever else you do, involve your groups. You have a fantas-

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