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Guidelines for Organising a Youth Stamp Fair or Activities Day

Holding a fair or activities day for your junior collectors is one of the best ways to promote your club and have loads of fun at the same time. Within your local community you can gain extra support and involve parents, teachers and adult collectors. Here are a few tips on how to organise the day – to make it a success you’ll need to plan well ahead (say 6 months) and have a small team of about 4 people to share the key planning; that is one person to book the venue and liaise with dealers etc., one to organise the activities, one to advertise and find sponsors, and one to recruit and manage the helpers.

Book the Venue

First of all find a suitable location (check the Key Points). A school or village hall is usually ideal. Saturday is generally the best day, from about 10am to 4pm. Alternatively, you may be able to hold your day in association with another event – school fete, for example. However be sure to check your event does not clash with another on the community calendar. If catering facilities are not available, publicise the need to bring your own picnic!

Liaise carefully with the location management regarding tables, chairs, lighting, toilet facilities etc., and allow sufficient time after the fair has closed to pack up and tidy the hall before handing it back to the person responsible for locking up.

If you plan to have some dealers attend, or hold a competition, you may wish to have a second room

Arrange Your Activities

This is the most complex part of organising a youth fair as you need to have a range of activities to suit all ages (check Lots to Do…) .
Activity Sheets – have plenty of copies available, with several different sheets to suit all ages and interests (eg. G.B. Definitives, Commemoratives to check against a catalogue, sports themes, famous people on stamps, etc.). Don’t forget you’ll need lots of pencils, tubs of stamps which relate to the activity sheets, kitchen
roll (for drying stamps after soaking them off paper), tweezers, hinges, magnifying glasses etc. Try games such as ‘Kim’s Game’ (check ‘Stamp Active Activity Ideas’). Arrange your activities at several tables with chairs for children and their parents to sit at, and ensure you have sufficient adults to monitor and explain each activity.

Displays – if your junior members are competitive, you can have displays from adult stamp collectors as well as past junior winners of other competitions for them to look at and learn from. (Check ‘Puddings’ on Café) Adults will also find this interesting. Displays can be on a set theme or you may invite someone to give a short talk about the pages they are displaying as a scheduled event at your fair. Your local philatelic society may be able to assist with display boards on which to show invited displays or competition entries.

Quiz Activities – these can be based on displays, or a simple ‘how many stamps in the jar’ question.

Tombola, Lucky Dips, large-scale posters of stamps for younger children to colour, and large-scale photocopies of stamps cut up to form jigsaw pieces are other varied activities. (A small charge of say 20p or 50p for the tombola or lucky dip can help finance your fair.)

Auction – youngsters can bid for auction lots using points awarded for correct answers to quiz questions, activity sheets etc. Make certain you have sufficient lots (say 20 or 30) and a strong voice to take the bids! Set a time, ideally after lunch or later in the afternoon as a finale for the day, to enable children sufficient time to gain points. Remember, not everyone will be there from the start. You will also need several people to calculate the points for each child (it helps to have a deadline for handing in activity sheets about 30 minutes before the auction commences).

Competition – the key to a successful competition is publicity well in advance. Children need plenty of time to compile their entry. Select a theme and ensure you have judges organised and briefed on the standard you expect. You will need prizes, certificates or ribbons for your entrants and winners. Most importantly, send out entry forms early – this will enable you to plan for the number of display boards, awards, judging and security for the competitors entries. An awards ceremony after lunch, following the morning judging session, can be another highlight of the day!      
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