As a registered dietitian (or other fitness or health care professional), you know how important it is to teach people about healthy habits…but this education doesn’t have to happen in an office setting. Health fairs are an interactive and fun way to engage with a new audience. But with so many booths vying for attention, it’s important to brainstorm some creative health fair ideas to stand out!
Whether you want to talk about healthy eating, fitness, mindfulness – or anything in between – let’s make your next wellness fair a memorable one!
Tips for Great Health and Wellness Fairs
Whether you’re planning the health fair yourself or you’re simply setting up a vendor booth, always focus on bringing the three E’s to your event or table: education, engagement, and entertainment! Let’s break down each one:
- Education: Health fairs are a great opportunity for healthcare professionals to share their knowledge and expertise. Whether you’re the queen of heart health or the meal prep master, use your time at the booth to share helpful tips, tricks, and handouts.
In fact, if you need some handouts to provide, we’ve even got a list of 25 free options that you can sign up to receive.
- Engagement: There’s a famous quote, often misattributed to Confucious, but still relevant: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Education is powerful, but engaging your audience is even better. Planners and vendors can consider activities like cooking demos, interactive workouts, quizzes, and more that bridges the gap between “hear”, “see”, and “do”.
- Entertainment: Not all learning has to be serious! Health fairs are a great opportunity to have some fun with music, performers, games, and giveaways. Maybe you even create a scavenger hunt that requires participants to interact with different vendors to find all the answers.
If you’re taking the reins on planning the entire health fair, here are a few additional key points to keep in mind:
- Collaborate with a wide variety of local vendors that will suit your employees needs (more ideas on this further down!). Be sure to confirm with them and send reminders leading up to the event.
- Ensure you have enough vendors (that can fit in the space you’ve selected) so that employees don’t have long waiting times at any one booth. Staggering times to visit the fair can also help with this.
- Get the word out! Promote the event to your employees in advance with company wide emails and flyers. If the event is public, consider also promoting it via social media.
- Offer an incentive for folks to attend! This could be anything from food to door prizes to a raffle – and beyond.
Health Fair Booth Ideas
Remember, the best tables touch on those three Es – education, engagement, and entertainment. Here are a few examples of great health fair booth ideas to get that creativity flowing.
Games and activities
Quizzes, games, prize wheels, contests… all of these can engage your audience and offer up fun at the fair.
For example, your game might involve asking individual participants to answer questions to win swag, or it might challenge two groups against each other for a little friendly competition. Jeopardy style game boards (pictured below from Molly Robinson, MS, RD, LD of Dementia Nutrition Solutions) are easy to create and can be used at many events.
Molly shares “Including an interactive component helps your display stand out above the rest. Demonstrations and hands-on activities create interest, add a fun factor that attracts guests and enhance the learning experience.”
Mary-Catherine LaBossiere, MPH, RD, LDN of Defy Nutrition, offers another idea – she recommends having a prize wheel at your next health fair. “This gives prospective clients time to interact with you so that you can better describe your services. It limits the “grab and go” when samples are out.”
If there’s anything that always pleases a crowd, it’s free food! Provide samples that touch on the nutrition messaging you’re providing.
For example, a sports dietitian might provide some samples of energy balls that help fuel fitness, while a pediatrics practitioner might provide snack bars that both taste great and nourish a growing child.
Mandy Enright of The Food and Movement Dietitian showcases this below in her setup for a worksite wellness fair, telling us “The focus of this table was to discuss ways to get more fruits & veggies and discuss nutrients in the smoothie ingredients.” Plus, she adds “samples always to lure people over to chat!”
Molly Robinson, MS, RD, LD of Dementia Nutrition Solutions shows us another example with an appetizing simple grain salad recipe prepared for a recent health fair booth. She shares “a specific theme or topic for your event helps to tailor the message for your audience and make planning easier.”
A few helpful tips if you plan to provide food samples:
- Sometimes brands are willing to provide free samples for health fair events! Check out the companies that offer them and reach out well in advance of your event.
- Be sure to check any local health code regulations regarding prepared foods that you plan to serve at an event. Some may require that these are prepared at a commercial kitchen or prepared on site for immediate consumption.
- Double check your liability insurance to see if it covers food preparation and samples. If not, sticking with pre-packaged shelf-stable foods may be your best bet!
A visually appealing booth is always helpful for drawing people over. Lisa Andrews encourages her fellow dietitians to “Use a bright tablecloth and a banner with your business name!…A health fair is a ‘pearfect’ opportunity to glean new business.”
But perhaps even more important is designing a creative display that invites participants to explore nutrition facts, get health tips, and learn about healthy habits in a fun way.
For example, it’s one thing to read about how much added sugar is in common foods and drinks, but it is another to see the added sugar measured! Molly Robinson, MS, RD, LD, of Dementia Nutrition Solutions, shares this example from a health fair booth below.
Molly suggests “Use a matching or guessing game to bring interest to your table. If actual products aren’t an option, pictures can be printed on cardstock to illustrate your message for guests.”
You might even expand on this idea by coupling the eye-catching display with some samples, as mentioned above. For example, if you focused on the sugar content of common beverages, you might pair that with offering some zero sugar beverage samples to try.
Need more help? Our Health Fair Toolkit offers ideas on how to host an interactive health fair booth with fun displays and even includes a list of must-pack items so that you’re prepared for the day!
If you have a fitness certification (or you’re bringing in a fitness vendor), organize live fitness activities for your health fair. These give people the ability to get their heart pumping and enjoy some much-needed fun.
Here are a few ideas for health fair fitness activities:
- Chair or regular yoga demo
- Mini cardio dance class
- Jump rope competition
- Mini bootcamp class
- Martial arts demo
- Fun run or walk
These demos could be one-off events, or you could use the health fair as the kick off to an ongoing corporate or community program.
Chrissy Carroll, owner of Snacking in Sneakers, recommends approaching the company about the idea of ongoing programming when planning these health fair details. “You can use the health fair as a way to showcase what your fitness programs are all about, and emphasize that beginners are welcome. Then work with the company on continued programming. For example, 8-week 5K training programs were one of my best sellers in corporate wellness.” (One of Chrissy’s corporate groups pictured below).
These fitness activities can also apply to health fairs at school or community events, where kids might be involved. For example, silly dances or 100-meter sprints are always a fun way to get the little ones involved.
Health screenings are a great way to provide tangible and important information. At a health fair, you can offer basic screenings like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, or body fat analysis. This is a perfect opportunity for registered dietitians or registered nurses to explain what these numbers mean and what actions people can take to impact them in the future.
Below, you can see an example of a screening in place at a community health fair in Massachusetts:
No matter where someone works, odds are, there are times they feel overwhelmed. Different professionals can incorporate mindfulness activities into their health fair booths to help people learn to destress or learn mindfulness. For example:
- A dietitian could offer a mindful tasting activity with a raisin or a piece of dark chocolate
- A yoga instructor could offer a series of simple poses or breathing exercises
- A therapist could lead a mindful meditation activity
Kate Hamm, a yoga instructor and health coach at AnamBliss, shows us the table she recently created on the benefits of yoga for a corporate health fair. Hamm says, “I used my computer with a video I created for a pranayama breathing exercise where they followed the size of the circle as it got bigger to inhale or smaller to exhale.”
Mandy Enright of The Food and Movement Dietitian created another fun mindfulness set up with her “De-Stress at Your Desk” station, featuring items like yoga gear and an essential oil diffuser. “In addition to the table, there were chairs set up in front where I showed people how to stretch during the work day and shared meditation exercises.”
Mini Coaching Sessions
Dietitians and health coaches can offer free 15-minute mini coaching sessions at their health fair booth. Participants are able to get personalized advice to help them create healthy habits, and you may be able to collect warm leads for your business!
Safety stations and demos
If hosting a community event or a corporate family event, safety stations are always a nice fit. Here are a few ideas for interactive demos:
- Car seat safety demo – Police departments and child safety experts can show families how to properly install car seats. Did you know that over half of the car seats in the US are not installed correctly?
- Fire safety activities – Fire departments can demonstrate helpful safety tips for preventing fires and proper use of a fire extinguisher.
- First aid and CPR demos – Emergency personnel can teach basic first aid and CPR skills.
- Driving safety demos – Text and drive simulators (pictured below) and alcohol impairment goggles are always popular for community or school health fairs with young adults.
Get a local “celebrity” involved
If you have some great connections, consider getting a local celebrity or influential community member involved in your health fair. Not only can they draw employees to the table/event, but you may be able to leverage their involvement in positive press.
For example, could the Mayor of your city help out with a cooking demonstration? (An example is pictured below with the former Mayor of Boston.) Or could a local sports legend help lead a fitness class?
Remember that this doesn’t have to be a major celebrity that has outrageous appearance fees; it could be someone that is simply looked up to in the local community.
Create a photo booth
Jazz up your booth with a makeshift photo station! You can create a custom backdrop or purchase an inexpensive white backdrop on Amazon, and then gather up some custom photo props related to your niche.
For example, a dietitian at a triathlon-themed wellness fair offered up food-themed photo props (like cutouts of bananas and watermelon) along with speech bubbles with fun quotes. You can encourage participants to share photos of themselves at the event on social media using a particular hashtag.
No matter what niche you represent, having a prize can make any event more fun and encourage more participation.
If you’re a vendor, Mary-Catherine of Defy Nutrition recommends providing a giveaway in exchange for an email address. “Collecting emails for a giveaway is a great way to grow your list so that you can nurture leads beyond the day of the event.”
In this case, it’s always smart to choose a prize that would appeal to your target market. While an Amazon gift card may get lots of entries, you might find few of the leads are actually interested in your services. On the flip side, if you offer a giveaway for a month-long membership to your virtual nutrition course or a copy of your cookbook, you’ll collect exactly the right types of leads.
If you’re hosting the health fair, you can create a passport-style option that encourages participants to get stamped at each booth to enter a prize. These prize ideas can be larger and more generic, but it’s still nice when they are related to the concept of health and wellness. You might offer up…
- A new bicycle
- A massage
- An extra day of PTO
- A gift certificate to the vendors, such as the gym or restaurant
Activities for kids (if applicable)
If kids will be invited to the health fair, be sure to include activities for them to get involved and have fun, too. Here are a few ideas in addition to those already mentioned:
Suggested health and wellness fair vendors
If you’re also in charge of planning the health fair, there are endless opportunities for additional vendors to include such as:
- Local gyms – they might do a fitness demo or stretching routine
- Farms – taste fresh local produce and have attendees register for their CSA
- Fire department – talking through fire safety at home and reminding you to check the batteries in your smoke detector
- Bicycle store – testing the fit of your bike helmet, helping with small bike repairs
- Local county health department
- Animal shelter – They may be able to share volunteer opportunities and perhaps even showcase a few snuggly pups!
- Red Cross to host a blood drive
- Local Parks and Rec department – great for sharing local hiking trails and nature centers
- Non-profit organizations that can share volunteer opportunities, such as Kiwanis, the local school PTA, the community gardening club, National Park Service, or the local food bank
- Dentists, passing out toothbrushes and demonstrating how to floss well
- Library or bookstore
- Mental health services and crisis hotlines, to provide awareness
- Local organizations such as Big Brother, Big Sister, Habitat for Humanity, Rails to Trails, AARP, and The American Heart Association.
- Food! Consider inviting local restaurants so that your health fair attendees can sample tasty, nourishing snacks while exploring. There may be several local or national food brands that are interested in providing samples of their products as well.
Keep the momentum going
A health fair is just an introduction to a company or community. After it takes place, keep that momentum going! Here are a few ideas:
- Follow up with attendees via email to share additional resources, answer any questions, or notify prize winners
- Share photos and video on social media
- Consider hosting wellness challenges for employees (you can even grab a full year of monthly ideas!)
- Develop additional corporate wellness programming that you can offer to the company that hosted the fair – or if you were the host, consider pitching for additional budgeting to hire out for continued programming.
That’s a wrap
Health fairs offer dietitians and other health care professionals an exceptional chance to connect with current and future clients. The goal for any health fair vendor is to stand out in an area with so many other booths and to attract and educate the target audience. Incorporating innovative ideas like games, interactive activities, mini sessions, and more will help you shine!
Ready to learn more? We’ve hand-picked a few favorites from the blog.
- The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Wellness Challenges – 15 wellness challenge ideas for registered dietitians and HR managers you won’t want to miss. No stuffy bag lunches, here!
- Engaging Nutrition Activities for Adults, Groups and Events – With the right tools, nutrition activities for adults and children can be just as fun as they are informational. Ideas and tools right this way!
- 20 Companies with Free Samples for Dietitians – Trying to find product samples for your health fair booth? Here are 20 companies that offer free samples for dietitians!
- Workplace Wellness Activities the Whole Office Will Love – We have ready-to-launch wellness activities for your office or business. Boost office health and morale with our curated collection.