Lessons from the Big E: How to Stand Out at a Fair or Festival


Up here in New England, we don’t get a state fair like many other areas do. Instead, we have one big fair to share – the Eastern States Exposition, widely and affectionately known as the Big E. It is a huge, scattered, overwhelming and amazing fair with just about everything under the sun: great food, weird food, fried food, rides, games, animals, concerts, informational exhibits and trade exhibits. I’ve been going since I was 13, and it’s still a fall favorite!

The Big E opens today and lasts until the end of the month. As I mentioned, it is really an overwhelming space, jammed full of booths selling things, advertising things, doing product demos, giving talks, and just generally marketing! But in such a crazy, busy event, it can be hard for a business to really stand out from the crowd. This is especially true when you think that you’re not just competing against other businesses – you’re also competing against other attractions like the ferris wheel and the deep fried oreos! It’s a tall order, but we have some tips that will help you get there:

Embrace Technology

The Big E truckA fair or festival has a lot going on to draw visitors’ attention, so you need to have a lot going on to keep them focused on you. Yesterday I saw a box truck driving around my city, and both sides were covered with digital screens playing a video of all you can see and do at the Big E. Pretty tech-savvy marketing! If you can, incorporate video screens, tablets, or computers into your exhibit. If that’s cost-prohibitive, design your exhibit to be interactive with your visitors’ cell phones – prizes for following you on social media on their phones, QR codes to enter a contest, etc.

Clearly Define Your Space

Big E crowdAt the Big E, vendors and trade booths are scattered outside amongst food carts and event spaces, as well as grouped into several buildings with general themes. In either space, it’s important that your exhibit is clearly, obviously defined, so that it’s easy to see where your booth ends and the next one starts. Tents are a clear way to show your space off, as are drapes that surround your square space, counters or tables with branded covers, or even fabric walls.

Aim High(er)

Tall fair flagsAs long as space allows, you’ll always see vendors competing for visual impact by reaching higher above their space. Flags and banners are the most common way to do this, and are certainly a cost-effective way to get noticed. Outside the sky is the limit, but check with event planners about how high you’re allowed to go inside.

We know that you spend a lot of time and energy planning your event booth – but you don’t have to spend a lot of money too! We have a huge range of visuals to meet any need and scratch any itch. We’re here to help, just get in touch!


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