Provided by: The Coordinated School Health Council
If you are coordinating a health fair these ideas may help you get started. The amount of time you should spend planning your health fair will depend on the size and type of health fair you want to have. Approximately 2-3 months is an appropriate length of time to organize your fair.
- Set Up a Planning Committee
- Decide on the Theme
- Decide on Your Target Audience
- Set Date, Time and Location
- Arrange Displays and Topics
- Invite Resources People
- Arrange for Donations, Prizes and Food
- Promotion of the Health Fair
- Day of the Fair
Set Up a Planning Committee
Two or more people should be designated to do the planning in conjunction with others who will be involved during the fair. It is necessary to clearly establish the responsibilities of people within the committee. For example possible members might include school staff, teachers, support staff, school nurse, food service director, PTO/PTA members and community members.
Decide On the Theme
Your health fair needs to have a theme or focus. This may be to promote Public Health, or it may be may be a more specific health theme.. Here are a few ideas. Fall Fitness Fiesta, Spring Fling, Autumn Tune-up, Fall into Winter, Holiday Happenings, Wellness Roundup, Build a Healthy Foundation, Planting the Seeds of Wellness, Summer Safety, Nutrition, Wellness Scavenger Hunt. If your targeted audience is children giving stations creative and interesting names will increase participation.
Decide on Your Targeted Audience
Is your targeted audience students (what age level) or will the audience be families/parents? Perhaps your health fair is for the community. These are important decisions the committee will need to make.
Set Date, Time and Location
You need to decide when you want to hold the fair. Specifically, what time of year, what day of the week and what time of day. You need to consider your target audience. It is necessary to consider dates and times which make your fair easy for people to attend. For instance, daytime hours are not always good for working people, but may be great for seniors, or school age children. Evenings are often good for families and people who work during the day.
It is also important to decide on location early, since places such as recreation facilities are often booked well in advance Most communities will have school or organizations that would be willing to provide space for a health or wellness fair at no charge. Consider your target group when deciding on location, since some places are not easily accessible for people of all ages and those with physical disabilities. The location needs to be large enough to accommodate the displays. Tables must be available for the displays, as well as appropriate lighting and enough electrical outlets at the site. Be sure to allow adequate space so the people can move easily around the displays. Ensure that there is enough parking at the location and find out if there is anyone like a custodian who will be available at the site.
Arrange Displays and Topics
The next step is to decide what type of displays you will have and the topics for each display. For example, if you are having a Heart Health Fair, then you will want to have displays on all the different risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, high blood pressure, weight and inactivity. You may choose to have a display explaining the heart and heart disease and give specific statistics on the incidence of heart disease in your local area.
You will need to decide on how many displays and how much space each one needs. It is wise to book any equipment you may need in advance. It is also beneficial to create displays that are very eye catching and colorful, as well as easy to understand. Reading level is an important consideration when preparing a display for a particular group of people. One or two messages should be the focus for a display, instead of overwhelming the audience with an abundance of information. It is often helpful if a display allows the participant to be actively involved, instead of simply reading information. For example, a quiz board allows people to answer questions where the correct answer will light up.
Invite Resource People
Invite resource people to attend or possibly set up a display from their own organization. The resource people can be available to answer questions on prevention, treatment or education as related to their areas of expertise. It is wise to contact people as early as possible. Once you have decided on a theme, displays, topics, and resource people, then record the number of displays for the fair and make sure you have a contact person for each display.
Contact all people and organizations (in writing) who will be participating to confirm the date, time, location and theme or focus for the fair. Be sure to let them know when they can set up their display. Contact them 2 weeks prior to the fair to confirm their involvement.
Possible Resources could include:
- Fire Department
- Ambulance Services
- Police Department
- Local Red Cross
- Visiting Nurses Association
- Physicians/Medical Practice
- NH HEALthy Schools
- UNHCE - Nutrition Connections Program
- UNH 4-H Youth Development Educators
- UNH Family and Consumer Resources
- Boys/Girls Club
- Local Churches
- Local Library
- Food Service Directors
- Local Health Clubs
Arrange for Donations, Prizes and Food
Some organizations may donate some of their products for a worthwhile event. For example, local grocery stores may donate some healthy snacks for a Heart Health Fair. If there are any funds available it may be worth while to purchase a few door prizes for participants. For example, at a Heart Health Fair, heart healthy cookbooks are a good prize and/or a gift certificate to a local athletic shop. Remember it never hurts to ask for donations, you might be surprised at what people will donate.
Promotion of the Health Fair
The publicity for your health fair is very important. It is necessary to consider the most likely ways that your target audience could hear about the fair. Poster and flyers can be made and put up in many local establishments within a week of the event. If you are planning to open the health fair to parents and the community you might want to send flyers home with the school students and put some posters around the community.
It is always wise to send specific invitations to particular groups or individuals you would like to see attend the fair. Be sure to promote the fun and interactive exhibits to draws a larger crowd. The first year that Health/Wellness Fair is held the attendance may be lower than in subsequent years.
Day of the Fair
There are many things you should remember to bring or send in advance. This includes the display panels, posters, logos and banners that you may need. Determine what audio-visual equipment you will need. For a Heart Health Fair, you may need blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes. Ensure that there are sufficient numbers of tables available at your site in advance. Exhibitors should have pamphlets and information available; however do not leave large quantities on display. This encourages people to take one even though it may be thrown away. It is better to stimulate conversation and determine whether a participant would like the information.
You may also need scissors, tape, markers, extension cords, pens & pencils and paper to cover the tables if needed. The day of the fair allow adequate time to set up. Designate a committee person to be in charge of the equipment, one to be the host and one to handle the registration area.
You want to determine whether your fair was a success or not. Decide how you will evaluate the Health/ Wellness Fair. It may be helpful to record any comments or suggestions of people at the fair or you may wish to give participants a short questionnaire. A short report should be written to summarize the event. This may be very helpful when it comes to planning another fair or similar event.
Send out thank you notes to the organizations and individuals who participated and also to those who made donations. It is also nice to send a note of thanks to the people who assisted in planning the event.