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August 12, 2003

All's Fair in Fair and Fair

Whew! What a week I had working at the Nevada County Fair! It was a lot of fun -- and a huge drain on my resources at the same time. The fun part makes up for the other part, though...and included in the "fun" rating is how beneficial it was for the local LP group (which, for the newbies, I'm Chairman of). We administered around 800 World's Smallest Political Quizzes, and about 10% of those folks gave us contact info so we can keep in touch with them. For a party as small as ours, that's a major boom.

We also got a number of folks from within the party, and even from neighboring counties, to help out with staffing the booth, and as far as I can tell, everybody enjoyed themselves and felt good about what we were getting done there. The response from fair visitors who came to the booth was almost universally positive, even though plenty of people didn't align themselves with our party. That World's Smallest Political Quiz is a superb outreach tool -- people really enjoy it. All week long, we had folks who had previously taken the quiz bringing their friend or spouse or sibling over to try it out. And there was plenty of "Thanks -- that was fun!", and "Thanks -- that was really interesting" going around too.

The Chairmen from two different local LP regions both worked the booth, and both lavished some praise on our local party's booth and efforts, which was very nice to hear.

It wasn't all about providing fuel for self-congratulatory back-slapping, though. This was an essential part of our local presence as a political force, and as a community organization. There hasn't been a county LP booth at the fair for about 10 years, and more than one person took the time to say they were glad to see that someone besides the Democrats and Republicans had set up shop there. Indeed, our two biggest rival parties were right down the lane from our booth. I get along pretty well with the leaders from both of those parties, as well as the Greens, so the rivalry consists mostly of good-natured ribbing.

In fact, here's a funny story: We had buttons available for a donation, and one of the buttons was an anti-USA-PATRIOT Act one. It had '"USA-PATRIOT" Act' in black letters, with a red circle around it and a line through it. I have a button-making kit, and I just printed the design up on my printer, and made a dozen or so. After introducing some of those in the morning, I returned later to find them all gone, and my party colleague Janet told me that the Democrats had bought them all up, because they had a petition against Patriot Act II over at their table. So, that was funny enough -- our biggest donation so far in the fair coming from the Democrats.

Then, on the last day, I was getting crafty, and I brought my laptop and printer to the fair -- the button-making stuff was already there. After a time, I came up with the idea of making "Recall Bush" buttons, to sell to the Democrats. They're trying to fight the recall of super-loser Gray Davis, and presumably they support the impeach Bush movement, so I figured it would be a sassy button they'd like. I printed a few up with RECALL BUSH in big letters, and in small letters, and brought them over to the Dems -- but I didn't know any of the folks that were there, and the folks who were there weren't really spicy and tuned-in enough to get excited about the buttons. So I went back to our booth, and just left the buttons I had made on the back table there. (Neither Janet nor I thought it would be good to put them on our own main table, especially since the impeachment of Bush has not been officially discussed by our group.) And I went home. When I came back, Janet told me that we sold out of the "Recall Bush" buttons -- that the Democrats (different ones) had eventually come over and seized upon them. :-) On top of that, when I went over to say hey to them, they expressed interest in getting ahold of a bunch more Recall Bush buttons, and came and got my contact info so we could get together after the fair.

I also made some LEGALIZE FREEDOM buttons, with the NCLP's website address on them, and some of the Democrats were wearing those too! Now all I have to do is figure out some buttons to make that the Republicans will want to buy, and I can facilitate local Bipartisan ill will, while making a bunch of money. ;-)

I kid, of course...sort of. Like I said, I'm on good terms with both of those parties locally, and I even joked at the GOP booth about the Recall Bush buttons I was making. The woman I mentioned it to had to choke in a little gasp, but in the end she smiled and said she'd forgive me my errors (I'm paraphrasing).

All in all, it was a good time, and we helped move the political brain-gears of quite a lot of people. I also learned a lot about running a booth -- some of which was put into practice as the week went along. I'm going to put together an entry of tips and sugestions on running a booth, with pictures of the various elements of our booth, and thoughts on what worked well and what didn't. I've also got some pictures and short (soundless) video clips, which I'm going to post over at the NCLP site, and link to from here, probably as part of that tips entry. I even got a fellow booth worker to take a couple pictures of me in some amount of action. Unfortunately I'm making unflattering faces in many of them due to the sun (and maybe a little due to sleep deprivation), and those are the best ones in terms of actually seeing me. These are two of the better ones I guess:

Lance prepares to score a World's Smallest Political Quiz at the Nevada County Fair
Here I'm getting ready to score this man's quiz.

Lance talks to a couple of people at the NCLP booth at the county fair
Here I'm conversing with someone off to the left of the camera shot. (You can see I'm wearing one of our "Legalize Freedom" buttons in this one.)

Posted by Lance Brown at August 12, 2003 11:59 PM | TrackBack
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