For those of you who attended the Fair this year, you can imagine that the strike operation for this month-long event was no walk in the park. Rides, food stands, carnival games and prizes, livestock and exhibits all had to be organized, logged and packed away. That is time consuming in itself, but how do you transition the strike of a 400+ acre Fair and set-up a large expo… in two days?

Goodbye Ferris wheel, hello off-roading!

It took a total of three weeks to set up the Fair. We had two days to strike and prepare for the next set of events taking place on the grounds. This year we had the Lucas Oil Off-Road Expo setting up shop in one area of the fairgrounds, the Quilt, Craft and Sew festival located in one of the expo halls AND the So Cal College Fair launching in the Sheraton Conference Center.

So what does the strike of Fair look like? Fairplex event services manager Pat Wright gave some of us his tips for a successful, seamless transition from one event to another, no matter what the time limit is.

Before even beginning…

1. Establish and reinforce agreement contracts. The vendors, concessionaires, carnival team and sponsors needed to be packed up by noon the day after the Fair’s close. Pat made sure each and every crew understood their agreement with Fairplex, giving them ample time to assemble the manpower needed to tear down their booths, pack up equipment and head out for the year.

Time to close up shop…

2. Next the contractors come in to take down the hundreds of canopies, tents, tables and other temporary facilities that are brought in for the Fair.

Bring in the cleaning experts!

3. Finally, it’s time to clean. Fairplex hires several cleaning crews including a pressure washing team and environmental services crew to scrub and scour every exposition hall, every warehouse and every inch of cement into a spotless canvas for the next event. The crews worked from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning in order to accomplish this.

It’s showtime! Again…

4. As the cleaning crews pack up and head home, the next client is “knocking” on Fairplex’s doors bright and early, ready to set up for their events.

As you can see, it takes hundreds of people for an effective strike, especially with 48 hours or less to get everything done. But it can be done!

Pat gave us his top three pieces of advice to survive the madness:

1. Get a good night’s rest — as often as you can
2. Come into the day with lots of resolve
3. Communicate effectively with your team and partners. “It’s my team that gets everything done,” he said. “I make sure that they know when and where the priority is. It’s all about being aware of what is going on that day.”

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