Fair Day (LGBTQI Mardi Gras, February 2018)

Part 1:  Thanks for making Fair Day 2018 a success!

by Jackie Charlton, Fair Day Rotary Stall Coordinator

Thanks to everyone who helped and contributed to a great booth at Fair Day.  We collaborated with Rotaract and Rotary with 4 Rotaract clubs represented as well as The Darlings, Cronulla and Inner West Rotary clubs.
Thanks to all the Coves who helped on the day and those who delved into storage and discovered banners from the many visitors to our club worldwide. The banners were a great source of comment with the many nationalities attending Fair Day and searching for their hometown on our booth. Our booth was in a pretty obscure spot so Ana and Maria explored the whole Fair spreading the Rotary word at other booths.
The two Carmen tickets we were giving away created plenty of interest too and we hope to have some new Coves converted soon.

Part 2:  Volunteering at Fair Day 2018

by Tom Gervay

Coves joined with other Rotarians and Rotaractors manning a booth at the fabulous annual Fair Day supporting this week's Mardi Gras events. It was a huge day at Victoria Park Camperdown. Thousands of people enjoyed the music, information, food and displays. We had a very positive and somewhat surprised response to showcasing Rotary and its service projects.
The large crowd of Rotaractors were very effective in engaging with the mostly young crowd and the donated tickets to Carmen were a great icebreaker for many conversations!
Great fun and really put Rotary into a current context!

Part 3:  Why Fair Day 2018?

by Edei Ledet

Jackie's story thanks everyone who came together to make the day possible. It was a collaborative effort by many Coves, plus Rotarians & Rotaractors from across Sydney Clubs. Tom's story and the Scrapbook photos tell the Fair Day experience. My story is about "Why".
Sydney Cove prides itself on being irreverent, socially responsible, fun-loving Rotarians. It's quite natural for our Club to lead the District in new ventures. In the August 2017 Club Strategic Planning Session members discussed the challenges facing our Club (eg membership), Rotary (brand identification), and our community. In the break out sessions, John Harrison (our Strategic Planning facilitator) asked us to brainstorm ideas for new projects to try this year. Each of the 3 groups independently came up with the same idea - let's do something for Mardi Gras.
We considered putting a float in the parade, but 2 hurdles quickly appeared. First, it's expensive. Second, District Conference and the parade were the same weekend. Fair Day, the family-friendly carnival hosted by Mardi Gras, annually has +70,000 attendees. Sponsoring a Community Stall costs $300, making Fair Day a low-cost opportunity to share Rotary with a big audience. When I discussed our Club's idea with AG John Given, he suggested other Clubs might want to join us. He was right; there was a lot of enthusiasm for the Rotary Stall idea. PP Jackie Charlton offered to champion the project. She took up the herculean task of coordinating the 8 Clubs, creating our Club's marketing brochures and decorating the stall. As the Scrapbook photos show, she did an awesome job! 
Each participating Club wanted to collect contact details from interested Fair-goers. However, Fair Day rules state that Community Stalls cannot fundraise or sell anything. Enter Phil and Julie Ball, very generous Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The Balls (who had cancelled their Sydney holiday) donated their pre-paid tickets for a March performance of Carmen at the Opera House. The Ball's 2 primo Carmen Tickets became the Raffle Prize. Nearly 225 people entered the Raffle, providing the 8 participating Clubs a data base of people potentially interested in Rotary. The Raffle prize was won by Maikol, a terrific young man, who is thrilled to see his very first opera. He is interested in learning about Rotary and plans to visit our Club soon.
Why host a Rotary Stall at the LGBTQI Mardi Gras Fair Day?  To Make a Difference by:
  • Showcasing the best of Rotary/Rotaract in Sydney, a diverse group of people connecting on a wide range of service projects.
  • Strengthening Rotary bonds of fellowship between 4 Rotary Clubs and 4 Rotaract Clubs.
  • Increasing awareness of Rotary. Thanks to Jackie's brilliant idea, people were attracted to our stall by the colourful Rotary Flags from around the world that lined the fence and decorated the stall. Many people commented that they didn't realise Rotary was global.
  • Increasing awareness of Sydney Cove's activities. Dozens of major corporations had Corporate Stalls. Who knows how many picked up information about our annual Regatta and may join us next Nov after seeing us at Fair Day.
  • Promoting Rotary's brand by showing Rotary is a progressive, inclusive organisation. Many visitors were impressed that Rotary was present.
  • Most importantly, everyone enjoyed an unforgettable day sharing our passion for Rotary Service with Sydney's wonderfully diverse community of kind, accepting, enthusiastic, colourful, wacky & hilariously weird characters!