Can you smell the cotton candy, turkey legs and funnel cakes cookin’ yet? Fair season is right around the corner and (besides the food) that means lots of new ways to wow visitors. New and exciting experiences at your event are one of the best ways to keep people coming back each year. Although event trends can be as hard to pin down as the giant stuffed bear prize at the fair, this year Saffire has you covered.

Here are five ways to take things to the next level and make your event a success!

  1. Getting Active

If last year was all about getting your crowd to whip out their smartphones, this year is about encouraging participants to put down their phone, be in the moment and move their body. Whether it’s pop-up dance parties or yoga in the midway, getting active can be a memorable way to help visitors connect with the sights around them and burn off all those corndogs. For really athletic fair-goers, offer a chance to get competitive. The Tulsa State Fair is taking on the trend by challenging participants to a 5k run around the fairgrounds, and at the Fort Bend County Fair & Rodeo visitors can fish to win over $6,500 in prizes. For people who are more interested in doing their own thing, walking tours are a great way to get moving and see all the fun things to do at your event.

  1. Local Pop-ups

Fairs, festivals and other local events are celebrations of all the great things your area has to offer. Encourage your visitors to immerse themselves in local culture by creating pop-up shops and experiences that are full of local flavor. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be just food! Partner with local favorites to create fun experiences like mini-museums, craft making areas or experimental dining (blindfolded beer tasting anyone?). By creating fun experiences with local businesses, you can create a sense of place and remind everyone why you love your community!

  1. Virtual Participation

Tech interaction is far from over at events. This year, trendy event coordinators are mixing tech interaction with real-world experiences. That means that instead of just using things like hashtags and Instagram-worthy photo-ops, events can take interaction to the next level by creating fun activities like phone-guided tours and real-time voting via apps or text message. Even something as simple as introducing online ticketing can be a big boost for visitor experience.

  1. Engaging the senses

Food! Lights! Music! If there’s one thing fairs understand, it’s the power of your five senses. There are so many things to see, taste and hear that visitors can always find something to keep them entertained. What if we cut the noise and allowed visitors to fully immerse themselves in one sense for a memorable experience that they’ll always associate with your event? How can we do that in an area that is already so engaging? Silent discos are a popular choice popping up in the festival scene that allow visitors to groove to their own music and drown out the rest of the party. Paint lounges can allow attendees to let out their inner Picasso and relax. Psychologists agree that targeting our five senses is one of the quickest ways to create lasting memories, so get creative with ways to engage senses and visitors could remember your event forever.

  1. Personalized Experiences

In case you haven’t heard, Gen Z and millennials LOVE personalization. That’s why this trend has been taking over the marketing world for the past few years, and now it’s taking over events. It’s not enough to just add names to emails and merchandise anymore. It’s all about creating personal itineraries that can help guests find things to do that they’ll love. Got a killer art show, craft beer lounge and a concert from an up-and-coming indie band that your hipster crew will love? What about a Ferris Wheel, winery and local ice cream stand that are what first date dreams are made of? Create some custom itineraries, stick them on a Plan Your Visit page – or in a welcome bag, or at the ticket counter – and ta-da you have some personalized experiences that millennials will love you for!

 

Whether you’re promoting your fair, festival or networking event this fall, fun unexpected ideas are sure to stick with your attendees. Keeping up with trends can be a lot of work, but with the right methods, they are sure to pay off!