Fairs are what we do.

 – By

Theme development, ad design, television production, event planning, PR consulting, media coordination… a lot of planning goes in to making a fair happen every year. As members of the International Associate of Fairs and Expos and Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs, Robert Sharp & Associates are experts in the fair marketing industry. We are excited to be speaking about our experiences at the RMAF convention this year! Read some of our successes below.

Where it all starts

From theme development to on-grounds assistance, we handle a little bit of everything for the Central States Fair in Rapid City and the South Dakota State Fair in Huron. Every year we start by consulting with the fair office to create a theme and logo for the year’s fair.

Once a theme has been chosen and a logo designed, the fun begins! Our team works diligently to create a marketing plan that delivers our message across the Black Hills and the state through various media channels including radio, television, billboards, print publications, and social media.

The South Dakota State Fair

In addition to all of our print design, television production, media placement, and website maintenance, the State Fair relies on our office to provide on-grounds assistance to help coordinate media personnel at their media center. We want to ensure the media has everything they need to cover the State Fair and the events happening in Huron. From a cup of fresh coffee in the morning, to story ideas, setting up interviews, and giving rides to reporters and their camera crews around the fairgrounds, we are there to assist the media and help them create positive stories about the South Dakota State Fair.

Several years ago RSA brought the idea of a VIP Tent to the SD State Fair. Each year we help coordinate a media sponsor for each of the 5 nightly grandstand acts to provide dinner to VIP pass holders before the grandstand act that evening. Once the fair arrives, our staff is on hand at the VIP Tent every night to help serve drinks, coordinate meet and greet passes and make sure guests are enjoying the evening.

Attendance for the 2016 South Dakota State Fair was up slightly over 2015 coming in at 211,371 attending the 5 day event. In addition to attendance, camping and exhibits also saw increases, as well as several areas of revenue. Overall, the 2016 SD State Fair was a success, and we truly enjoy working with the staff in Huron to bring this great event together every year. As we speak, we are already working on a theme for 2017, so keep your eyes peeled for next year’s fun!

The Central States Fair

Media partnerships take on a huge role at the Central States Fair in Rapid City. RSA works diligently with all media to secure sponsorships for concerts and grandstand events, carnival promotions and gate discounts. It’s important that the Central States Fair is seen as a community event and we want to make sure all media have a chance to partner with us. When the fair opens, RSA takes on the role of “hosts” for the ever-popular VIP experience. Since its conception, RSA has managed the VIP tent by securing food and beverage sponsors; and is hands-on every night to coordinate meet and greets, handle media requests, and we’ve even been known to set up a golf game or two.

This year’s theme “Vote for Fun” offered a natural tie into social engagement. We directed more budget to digital media than ever before to reach our goal of email collection and social interaction. With this year’s national election garnishing so much attention, we chose to play off the political “hype” by putting a positive, fun, spin on the election process. All of our creative revolved around the “Vote for Fun” theme including Social Media, Print, and some great TV spots we had a blast filming.

Fair week presents its own challenges, and we “weathered the storm” with two nights of rain, but the show must go on and it made for some exciting PRCA rodeo action! Most importantly, attendance was up and fairgoers had a great time at the Central States Fair. That’s what it’s all about, providing the community with a safe, fun and affordable experience!

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