Neighborhood information fairs are a great way to deliver information to the residents of a specific neighborhood or homeowners association. These fairs give residents the opportunity to meet the city officials and neighborhood patrolmen, learn information about their area, and discover the type of programs available for neighborhood improvements. Neighborhood fairs also give residents a chance to meet and socialize with each other.
Neighborhood information fairs are really quite easy to organize. Here’s a basic template of how it’s done.
Finding a room. The first step in organizing an information fair is to find a meeting room or auditorium for your event. Ideally the meeting room should be in the neighborhood and could be held in a school gym, school library or a church fellowship hall. The room should have plenty of tables and chairs, electrical outlets, and access to restrooms.
What participants to invite to a Neighborhood fair. Once the room has been secured, the next step is to invite speakers or participants to the fair. At our association meetings, we invite city employees who have information that we think could be beneficial to neighbors. People to call to your neighborhood fair could include (but not limited to) the following:
* Neighborhood Patrolmen
* Code Enforcement Officers
* Department of Urban Forestry (tree health, where to get free street trees)
* Representative from Public Works (to discuss trash and recycling programs)
* Water master (if in an irrigation district)
* City historian
* Planning specialist for the area (who can discuss future expansion plans for the area and the city master plan)
* Local Humane Society
* Fire Department
* Neighborhood churches
* Leaders of neighborhood scout or 4-H groups
Search for sponsors. Even with the economy being tough, local businesses are usually willing to sponsor neighborhood information events. Hit the stores that you frequent for gift cards or merchandise that can be used as door prizes. See if a local coffee shop will spring for beverages and snacks.
How to notify the neighborhood of the fair. Two weeks before the event, notify the neighborhood of the upcoming information fair. The notice can go out in a neighborhood newsletter or website, be published in a local newspaper, or as fliers to be delivered to all the neighborhood residences. Here’s instructions for making some cheap door hangers that will work for this event. Be sure to acknowledge the sponsors in this flier.
Setting up the room for the information fair. There’s really no right or wrong way to set up the room for the fair, however, one of the more typical arrangements is to push all the tables close to the walls leaving the center of the room empty. Some of your guests will prefer to stand in front of their tables, while others would rather sit in back of them. Some may need a blank wall for giving a Power Point presentation.
Do provide each table with at least three chairs, plenty of overhead lighting, and near electrical sources for those who have slide projectors or computers. Also, label each table with a paper name card identifying the name of the city employee and the department he represents. This avoids the “where do I go” confusion plus makes it easier for the neighborhood residents to identify the tables they wish to visit for specific information.
Other details. The minor little details connected with an information fair all depends on how involved your organization wants to get. Some of the things that you might include at your neighborhood information fair could be the following four ideas:
1. Have a check in table with signup sheet, with a hostess who can answer questions concerning the information fair.
2. Offer some free promotional information about the neighborhood (bookmarks, frig magnets, etc.) with a signup card so they can join the association.
3. Conduct drawings for door prizes through out the event.
4. Water bottles on hand for speakers.
As you can see, organizing a neighborhood information fair really isn’t that difficult. By following these simple steps, you can provide your neighborhood organization with lots of useful information in a setting that’s fun for everyone involved.