A community fair is an event organised within the local community with the aim of providing information about the project and raising the awareness of relevant issues. It can include a wide range of activities that cater to a variety of different people and include such things as sausage sizzles, rides and activities for children, young people’s activities and events of interest to adults.
Community fairs can be useful for stakeholder engagement in that they provide an enjoyable venue that can draw a crowd of all ages and backgrounds. By using a variety of activities and events of interest to inform and engage a broad range of people a community fair can be a good way to raise awareness about an issue or proposal.The events incorporated within community fairs, if focused on certain issues, will encourage public participation and will raise awareness on this basis. They can also provide a venue for collecting contact details and getting signatories to any submissions or alternate proposals.
Advice for USING this option
- Select a date and venue that will encourage the greatest number of participants to attend (generally weekends or public holidays). Liaise with key groups to avoid clashes.
- Arrange for a number of activities and events of interest to various groups in the community (i.e. all ages, children, young people, adults, the elderly).
- Provide low cost or free activities (rides, sausage sizzles, etc.) to encourage attendance.
- Advertise and publicise the event with emphasis on the issue to be considered. Advertise starting and closing times.
- Provide adequate staffing and consider the employment of volunteers.
- Determine appropriate consultative activities for the fair. Organise the necessary duty of care and insurance issues.
- Consider employment of an events manager.
- Develop a plan of the site, and ensure all those participating know where they are to go. Consider some form of marking out sites (tape or stakes).
- Prepare a traffic plan (for trucks, cars, etc.) including a site for parking.
- Allow adequate time for setting up.
- On the day, ensure that coordinators circulate to assist participants to focus on the major issue and to facilitate participation.
This advice comes from: Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment.
- Book 3 The Engagement Toolkit: Page 20 of this extensive guide book provides a detailed overview of using community fairs for stakeholder engagement.
Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. Retrieved from http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/105825/Book_3_-_The_Engagement_Toolkit.pdf