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County Fair Booths: How to Reach the Heart of Your Community

by | Sep 14, 2011

By Jonathan Rogers, NRLC Field Coordinator

As autumn arrives, county fair booth season finds its stride. For years, establishing a presence at a local fair has been a staple activity for countless Right to Life chapters. Hopefully, for your chapter, this year will be no different. Later in this story I will talk about materials the National Right to Life’s State Organization and Development Department have to help you put on a successful both.

At first setting up a booth may not seem like the most ideal use of your time or resources. But in fact the opposite is most often the case, for a couple of reasons.

First off, county fairs are community events, something that everyone in town can identify with as at least partly “theirs.” As your chapter seeks to re-dedicate the culture to respect and cherish Life, participating in forums which express the identity of the community give you a chance to show that your chapter is itself a valued part of the community and local culture, something that individuals can identify with and consider their own.
Fairs are also family friendly events that attract just the demographic that can most strongly identify with the pro-life cause and support it. And fairgoers attend because they want to “take in the sights” and see new things, putting them in a mind to hear the truth of our message. Over a few days, your booth will have a chance to be seen by perhaps thousands of people, giving you a lot more exposure than you might at first expect.

To set up a booth, you will want to reserve space well ahead of time (depending on the fair, there may be a fee, but you might be able to secure a discounted rate for non-profits), line up a schedule of volunteers, and assemble materials. For your volunteers, try to arrange for at least two individuals per shift (a single person can handle a table, but it is less fun), with changes every few hours.

Volunteers will often receive free admission to the Fair. If you secure passes for them ahead of time, getting a good number of volunteers to take a shift or two can give them the rest of the day to enjoy the fair, making it a fun experience, especially for families.

If your chapter has plenty of educational and outreach materials at hand, you can pull together most of what you need for the booth without breaking the bank. Fliers, pamphlets, and petitions (the basics) are a must, along with signs and artwork promoting your chapter and your message. Fetal models are always an excellent crowd-getter.

If you have upcoming chapter or state level projects or events to advertise, be sure to do so.  Finally, don’t forget a bag of candy and free hand outs, along with a donations jar.

National Right to Life’s State Organization and Development Department has a number of materials on offer to help your put on a county fair booth, including a County Fair Packet (only $5) with detailed instructions, materials, handouts discussing the life issues with which to prepare your volunteers, and order forms for resources.

In addition, the educational DVD “Infinite Possibilities: A Baby’s First Months” ($10) makes an ideal multi-media tool to play on loop from a laptop or portable TV. And National Right to Life has a new line of wearable “people stickers” (just 10 cents each) and bumper stickers (35 cents each for the first twenty-five, 30 cents each for a hundred, 25 cents each for up to 300, and 20 cents each beyond that). Placing a volunteer or two in front of your booth to hand out stickers (kids love them) is a great way to attract people to your booth, and their circulation around the fairgrounds wearing stickers acts as free advertising.

Is your chapter putting on a fair booth this year? Please send us pictures and descriptions; we would love to share them online on our Facebook fan page and chapter website. To send in pictures, or to order any of the materials mentioned, call 202-626-8809, or e-mail jonathan@nrlc.org

Categories: Pro-Lifers