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Then & Now - State Fair Day

How to better foster unexpected connections across generations than at a fun, beloved, well-attended State Fair! Here in Minnesota, USA, the "Great Minnesota Get-Together", each year, offers just such opportunities for generations to share and connect with each other; and each state has its own State Fair.

Photo of Julie Briden
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

The "Then & Now" State Fair Day would bring Seniors and Youth together for a fun day at a very popular, beloved community event with opportunities for cross generational dialogue, sharing of experiences, which can foster unexpected connections, interests, and mutual understanding across generations.

Our State Fair already has a Seniors' Day but we would like to expand on that idea to foster connections across the generations.  We propose a "Then & Now"  State Fair Day.  What might that look like?  First, a little history on the State Fair.  The Fair has many offerings from competitions in the areas of livestock, creative arts, farm products and school projects; to exhibitors, free performances and fee performances at the Grandstand, and of course, food concessions with the very popular - "Food on a Stick".  The Fair's original focus was to promote agriculture in the state, which is still very important but has expanded to offer fair goers lots of choices.  So, we have a very well-attended, popular community event that has evolved over its 155 year history.

Ideas on how this will work:
  1. A Senior brings a Youth to the Fair for a reduced or free ticket (or vice versa)
  2. The Marketing and Media Relations Departments will promote the day; posters, displays, pamphlets, pictures will all share photos and info on "Then & Now".
  3. All buildings, exhibits, concessions, rides will build on the theme of "Then & Now".
Opportunities that could foster dialogue, reminiscing, fun, mutual respect and understanding for the Senior/Youth Fair Goers.
  • The Fair selects a Dairy Queen and her Court, each year, and a likeness of them is carved out of butter in the Dairy Barn.  Have past queens and princesses there and pictures to show.
  • Battle of Senior/Youth Bands
  • Share Grandstand Performances they have attended
  • Share items/pictures/awards submitted to the livestock, creative arts, farm and school projects
  • Past and Present performers in the free venues
  • Share favorite concessions (Food-on-a-Stick), rides, exhibits
  • Parade, at the end of the day, which includes Seniors and Youth, and shares the Fair "Then & Now"   

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

How could we cause a ripple effect to other State Fairs.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Meena Kadri

Great thinking Julie – and we love that you've employed some intergenerational thinking with your daughter, Amanda for this! :^) Loving some of the activities you've suggested here – and that you've considered an incentive by way of the reduced entry price.

Photo of Julie Briden

Thank you, Meena! Always good to hear from you and what you like about the idea.