Hobby Fair Tips

Hobby Fair Tips

A trumpet, a radio controller, a pencil and notebook, and a game controller to represent some of the hobbies which could be displayed at a hobby fair.

A hobby fair is a fun way for Scouts BSA and Venturers to showcase their various interests. This is a good opportunity to practice communication skills, get to know more about each other, and to find new activities to participate in. A “hobby” can be anything the youth is interested in, such as a collection, or a sport, or music, or chess.

How to Set Up and Run a Hobby Fair

Secure a Location Well in Advance

Do this as soon as you start planning the fair. Check with your chartered organization to see if they have a suitable space for you. You could also try a local community center, school, or church. You might have to be a little flexible with your dates also.

You can also consider doing your fair in conjunction with another event. For example, I used be our science fair coordinator for our school. Even though we usually had about 10 participants, there was not a good space in the school to set up the fair. So we did it in the spring during one of the parish fish fries. This had several purposes. First, it let us have a good area in the gym. Second, it gave it more of an “event” feel than just setting it up in the gym some day when it wasn’t in use. And third, it gave the kids a chance to show off their work to a larger community, which was good. They deserved it after all of the work they put into their projects.

Send Out Some Guidelines

Make sure everyone is on the same page beforehand. How much space will be allotted for each display at the hobby fair? Set up one of the tables you will be using beforehand and decide how many displays will go on each table. Then measure off the space which will be available to each person. Set some ground rules. Will liquids be allowed? What about batteries and electronic devices? And check with the location you are using. Do they have any rules you need to pass along.

Set Up Some Tables

Have some tables set up before people start bringing in their displays. If there will be multiple displays on a table, mark off each person’s “territory” with masking tape. Put a label in each space with a name or number to indicate who will be using that specific space.

Judging

If you will be having a contest with some sort of judging, have scoring sheets with the criteria ready. Contact your judges in advance and give them the scoring sheets. You might also provide sample scoring sheets to the participants well beforehand. Sometimes knowing what the criteria are will result in better displays. What criteria should you use? That is up to you. Things like attractiveness of the display, originality, and presentation (if you are letting them give a brief talk to the judges) are often used. You can also have different categories – like best collection, most unusual hobby, outdoor hobbies, etc. On the day of the event, tell everyone involved a specific time when judging will begin so they are all ready.

Awards

Definitely recognize those who did an outstanding job, but try to recognize the efforts of all at the same time. Everyone worked hard on their display for the hobby fair, so it might be nice to hand out certificates to all of the participants. Or you could do something similar to a science fair, where everyone gets a ribbon, but the color is based on how well the met the judging criteria.

Clean Up

Make sure you have a clean up plan beforehand. Have enough people lined up to take down tables and put the space back the way it was before you started your hobby fair.

Tips for a Great Table Top Display

Table top displays are a way to show off a hobby, collection, event, or other project. Or you can showcase your unit’s program. In addition, for several of the Venturing awards, Venturers must create a table top display.

Tips for Starting a Collection

There are several Scouting achievements related to collecting. Collecting is fun and it teaches math and science skills like numbering, sorting, and categorizing.

Hobby Ideas

If your Scouts or Venturers don’t have any hobbies to display at the hobby fair, encourage them to try something new. This list from Scout Life magazine has some great ideas to get started.

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