The first “Divorce Fair” hosted in Paris recently was attended by 4,000 people over the weekend exhibition. In France almost half of marriages end in divorce, and some bright spark (Brigitte Gaumet) came up with idea of tapping into that booming market. The fair brought together 60 stands offering services related to separation such as law firms and counsellors; and more diverse disciplines aimed at helping people get back on their feet, like tarot card readers, makeover specialists and self-esteem coaches.
Visitors to the exhibition were primarily women, echoing visitor statistics at wedding fairs, which we’re all too familiar with. The two-day-long fair included talks entitled “Plastic surgery’s role in re-conquering your image” and “How to re-seduce your partner using the Gestalt method,” as well as “Meeting on the Web” and “Separation: What does a lawyer do?”
This divorce fair got this crazy midlife writer thinking. No, not about divorce. But about the possibilities of exhibitions and fairs. I’ve been to many in my time, for all sorts of things – craft fairs, business fairs, trade exhibitions, recycling exhibitions to name a few. So what other fresh themes could be used as a baseline to organise a fair or exhibition?
It has to be a concept rather than a product, and it has to provide answers; solutions to problems or situations, and it must be informative.
My thinking went along these lines:
Adoption? No, too niche. Not enough visitor potential.
Speech impediments? Now that’s definitely a real problem for those that do have lisps and stutters. Too embarrassing methinks; visitor numbers would not be great.
Unusual hobbies? Thinking about it I can’t come up with a single one that’s not been covered before.
Parenting and grandparenting? I reckon people would see this as patronising. And there’s lots of information out there already.
Sex? Could that work? After mulling it over for a bit, I’m not sure I want to be involved in an event which would almost definitely be crawling with weirdos. I may struggle to be taken seriously ever again afterwards. Dismiss this one (provisionally); may come back to it.
Eating? We all have to eat, but I’m pretty certain that food and drink fairs have been done to death already.
And it was the “done to death” thing that finally led me to it.
“Death”? It’s definitely inevitable. 100% hit rate. It’s also a major problem for those left behind, or for those that know they’re going to die (that’s all of us then). Could we create mass appeal with a “Death” theme? Depends how it’s worded perhaps. “Funeral Fair” has a distinct ring to it; possibly a death knell too far though. “Life Expiry Exhibition”? “Wake Weekend”? Hhmmm, pass me my Thesaurus please.
The possibilities are huge with death as a theme, don’t you think? Undertakers; legal beagles; religious bods of every denomination and creed; specialist coffin makers; headstone purveyors; accountants; caterers (yes, that’s right, caterers); marquee hire companies (what?); mental health looker afters; musicians; will writers; florists. My God, the list of prospective exhibitors is endless.
We would, of course, need a little light relief because, let’s face it, the whole event could be a little sombre in tone if we don’t mind, and we really want people to have a good time. A smattering of subtle, joyful background music maybe to ward off any depression?
We could have an adjoining hall even for visitors to adjourn to when everything becomes a little too much for them, with lovely food and hot and cold drinks. I’m thinking to provide a party-like atmosphere in here so that visitors can duck and dive between the two halls – alternating between quick fixes of life and death. Now I admit that all of these plans still need a little fine-tuning, but I reckon my “death” theme idea has definitely got legs. If anyone has any other theme ideas I’d be very happy to consider them of course.