The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair recently received 11 awards — five first place — at the annual International Association of Fairs and Expositions competition, beating out about 1,200 competitors across the globe.
“We competed with fairs that had half a million to a million visitors and substantially more resources [than us],” said Robert Hohenstein, the Youth Fair president and CEO.
Youth Fair employees accepted the awards in marketing and agriculture at the annual IAFE convention in Las Vegas this month. Youth Fair representatives also attended educational seminars and assessed new entertainment and vendors at the convention.
“It is an honor to receive all these awards,” said Claudia Hernandez-Maltes, director of marketing and sales at the Youth Fair. This was her first year working as the head of marketing.
Some of the award-winning pieces included a 30-second TV ad, a 60-second radio ad, a 24-page booklet and entertainment guide and the Youth Fair’s official poster.
The Youth Fair’s marketing campaigns and their promotional materials in media outlets is essential to keep up attendance at the annual fair and exposition, she said.
Hohenstein said their attendance has been up by 22 percent over the past two years. Last year, the fair had about 590,000 visitors, he added.
Other awards highlighted the fair’s efforts to promote agriculture in South Florida. Among these, it won second place for its overall program for competitive agricultural exhibitors and third place for best overall agricultural program for the non-agricultural fair-going public.
Hohenstein said that it was a major accomplishment for the Youth Fair to received recognition for its agricultural displays when it is located in such a dense, urban area.
“We are an urban county fair. It is a difficult time to get promotion of agriculture,” he said.
A specific display the fair debuted in 2014 won best for “new means of promoting agriculture” in the interactive display called, “On the Moo-ve: The Journey of Dairy From Farm to Table.”
The display showcases the entire process that starts with taking the milk from a cow and ends with it up bottled up in supermarket aisles.
Hohenstein said his team is working on a new exhibit, which will be revealed on March 12, opening day for the 2015 fair.
Last year the fair won eight awards from this international convention, said Hernandez-Maltes, but this year’s win is taking their work to another level.
“I’m going to get used to this,” she said.