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School Fete do's and don'ts?
Who here has organised one?


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#1 Guest_Cathode_*

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:01 AM

Hey all.
I am going to be organising a school fete and we will be having our first meeting about it next month. The fete itself is a long while off, but I like to be organised and prepared.

Who here has organised/been on committee to run a successful fete?
What are some of the pitfalls and advice that you could share?
What do you pay for and what don't you pay for? ie do you pay for all the entertainment and kiddy stuff? or do you let them charge and they pay a fee to you for attending? or do you subsidise any activities?

I have some ideas for entertainment and kids activities. I would like to pack the quad and undercover areas with stalls, leaving the oval and grassed areas for kids entertainment and such.
Was thinking of either doing an opt out system for parental volunteers to man and supervise (but fear some may just not show up and leave us in the lurch). Was also thinking of (instead) roping in the year 6s and 7s to help man stalls (with one parent supervisor at all times throughout day).
The usual household donation stalls - cake, plant, books, bric and brac. I have a list of contacts to get in a variety of other stalls (who will pay for the space).
Am also going to steal the tip from another thread of having donation tins near the tills - so hopefully we can get peoples spare change.

I really want this to be a successful event. All tips, tricks, advice appreciated original.gif


Also, what day is better - A Saturday? or a Sunday?

Edited by Cathode, 06 April 2012 - 11:04 AM.


#2 Country (deci)Mel

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:06 AM

My nephew's school fair had good wine and beers for sale plus gourmet BBQ offerings!

People stayed around MUCH longer than in previous years!

#3 barrington

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

DS and DD1 are at different schools.  

For both their school fetes, stalls are organised and run by each year level.  So the parent reps for each class get together and work out/are given a stall to run and then they are responsible for organising the volunteers for the stalls.

DD1's school, in particular, is a very organised and well run fete.  They start organising it over a year in advance (its held every two years).

I was told that at the last school fete at DS's school, the stall that raised the most money was the pre-loved toys stall.


#4 Canberra Chick

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

I think Saturday is best - 11-3 usually means you avoid the issue of it clashing with kids sports.

Start getting prizes and sponsorship asap and keep hassling from now until Spring. Find someone who likes asking shop owners for donations. Also, aim high; ask local NRL/AFL/S15 teams. We got  some good prizes from them.

At DS's school we did hands - print out a hand and put it on a paddle pop stick, thread some string through. Each finger had something printed on it; a sausage, a ride, a go at the lucky dip etc. We sold lots of them before the day and parents liked it - they could buy a $10 hand (or two)  and let their kids go off on their own and not get pestered for change constantly. And we had advance sales.

Our 2 biggest money makers were:
white elephant stall
raffle
They took around $2000 each.  

Something that also worked for us was having a colour theme for the cake stall - we had pink and white and it looked awesome. You could sell bags with 4 squares of white choc cherry fudge for $5 just because it was pink and white and tied up with a pink curled ribbon...
Any cakes that didn't fit the theme were sold through the canteen-run cafe as individual pieces.

#5 Jenferal

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

I went to one last year which had a noodle bar type set up. you could watch them cooking the noodles on the hot plate and buy noodles and spring rolls etc.

My mum used to run school fetes when I was a kid and they were great! We had poster drawing competitions, dress up competitions, themes... way better than the half a*sed ones they seem to have these days.
I took my 1yr old to a few local ones last year and there weren't even toffees in the lolly stalls!

#6 Jenferal

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:28 AM

OMG Poet, can I go to the next one? that sounds fun.

#7 barrington

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:41 AM

Another money raiser for DS's school was badge making.  The children all mocked up their badges in school time, so there was plenty of pressure by the children to actually make their badge on the day.


#8 Soontobegran

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:51 AM

Hi and yes but it was a long time ago now. original.gif
Planning started a good 8 months ahead of time so that we could book the special events we wanted for the day.

We had our quad completely taken over by stalls around it's perimeter. We put it out to the school community very early that stalls would be available for anyone who wished to sell .We also put an advertisment in the local paper inviting the community to set up stalls too. We got very many interesting enquiries....some we had to say no to but we had some amazing responses and lots of variety.
Pre loved toys and books are always a hit. If you are having wine to sell you must apply for a special licence for the day.
We supplied the trestle tables and the gazebo shelters and they did the rest. They made 20% of sales, the rest went to the school to offset the cost of hiring/electricity etc.

We also sent a letter from our planning committee to all the local businesses to ask for donations and as as a result of these donations we were able to run a raffle on the day which actually bought in a couple of thousand dollars. We had children walking around during the day with raffle tickets.

It is important to provide a separate picnic areas which has good shelter. We cordoned off a large grassy area near the playgrounds and aside from the trees we also had gazebo type sunshades which we borrowed from the school community (another letter home).
This is where we had the bulk of the food stalls, so that the kids could go and buy whilst mum and dad  watched from the picnic blanket. The SRC ran a sausage sizzle which was incredibly popular, they organised the lot getting donations from the local butchers and bakery, they organised a roster and one teacher was supervising on an hourly basis.
We had people who specialise in food for Fetes that have hot popcorn, chips, hot dogs, fairy floss etc.
Of course parents were able to bring their own picnic food
It was in this area we had a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, balloon making and a jumping castle, clown heads,
The SES , the Firebrigade and the local St Johns Ambulance set up a truck and gave the kids tours and information and the St John's Ambulance were also there is a First Aid Capacity which I think was a pre  requisite when having pony rides etc. We had Harley rides which, whilst were expensive brought in a heap of money. Those guys were amazing and stayed all day, I think we ran a 50/50 profit share.
We wrote to all the AFL clubs and had some responses in terms of donations of gear for the raffle but Melbourne Footy Club sent Gary Lyons out and he ran a clinic on the oval which was very popular too.

My advice is to book early and prepare the school community early. Prepare to advertise in your local papers and ask for a local printing business to organise some flyers that can be dropped off by the school kids. Put flyers up in the local shop windows and if there is a pre school or CCC close to the school they can become a good source of advertising too.

Each class was responsible for organising it's roster of parent help on the day but the planning committee was a sub group of School Council.
We made enquiries about insurance in the possibility of us being rained out (pluvius I think it is called) but it was incredibly expensive so took a chance and it was fine.
A good idea to look at the bureau of Meteorology's history of rainfall in your area and choose a time when there is less likely to be an issue.

We had a school community of 320 and made $8k but this was 10ish years ago :-)

If there is anything else you can think of feel free to pop me a PM.

#9 Ianthe

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:52 AM

QUOTE (Canberra chick @ 06/04/2012, 11:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
At DS's school we did hands - print out a hand and put it on a paddle pop stick, thread some string through. Each finger had something printed on it; a sausage, a ride, a go at the lucky dip etc. We sold lots of them before the day and parents liked it - they could buy a $10 hand (or two)  and let their kids go off on their own and not get pestered for change constantly. And we had advance sales.


Something that also worked for us was having a colour theme for the cake stall - we had pink and white and it looked awesome. You could sell bags with 4 squares of white choc cherry fudge for $5 just because it was pink and white and tied up with a pink curled ribbon...
Any cakes that didn't fit the theme were sold through the canteen-run cafe as individual pieces.


Those are both brilliant ideas.

QUOTE (Poet in New York @ 06/04/2012, 11:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
DD's school just had their fete. Children paid $10 for a wristband and all rides and entertainments were included.


We paid $25 for the rides part of our last fete  oomg.gif

What has worked well for ours is the chocolate wheel-sometimes local Rotary clubs or Scouts will have one they will lend. And kids made things in class and then they priced them for the parents to buy-how do you say no when your child proudly shows you what they made?

Oh and usually each class was responsible for their own stall. That worked well.

#10 JRA

Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:53 AM

DH is an organiser of our fair, it is as much a friend raiser as a fund raiser.

It has about 6,000 people each year attend.

We outsource the coffee making, so they make and we get $X per coffee that they make.

We have a person in charge of food stalls, another for rides, another for non-food. We also have continual performance of kids doing music/acting etc. As well as a huge display of art.

We sell wrist bands for the rides, and try and sell as many up front as possible

The big money earner this year was the silent auction.

Face painting and hair colouring are always popular.

Snow cones are great earner as well. And great on a hot day.

We have a policy children can only man the stall if an adult is present given they are handling money and it leaves less open to questions.

The rules and licences required for food handling and alcohol also need to be very carefully managed.

#11 Julie3Girls

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:08 PM

I wasn't involved in organising, but I can you feedback from a parent attending point of view.

Ours was in November, and it was farrrrrrr too hot. Up in the 30s. We also had difficulty with the principal limiting where we could set up - he wouldn't let us use the quad, pretty much restricted us to the back playground

I think layout is important.

Work out what stalls are going to need to be in the shade eg cake stalls.
Set the stalls up so it is so easy to walk around  in a circuit, rather than here there and everywhere, because things get missed.

If you are having rides, check the requirements. They might need electricity, which might limit where they can set up.
We had 2 big inflatable slides, needing to be near electricity, and on flat ground. Only place was in the sun, and they had to shut them down early, because the slides got far too hot to use.

Rides - they did buy a wrist band for unlimited rides. Loved it as a parent, as we could buy one, and let the kids go. Kept the kids happy for ages and didn't cost me a fortune. If you keep the kids happy, parents will stay longer.

Confirm dates with EVERYONE right before - our snow cone person didn't show, he had the wrong date.  And he would have made an absolute fortune on the day.

If you have performances etc (band, choir, dance groups), make sure you actually have a schedule to hand out to people, or available to see what is on. And if you can, make an announcement over a sound system.
Chairs for people watching the performance would be nice.

Again, try for shade as well. (Did I mention we hit a heatwave with ours?)

We had a lot of market type stalls - I think they either paid, or did a percentage a sales, not sure exactly.
The local rural fire brigade set up a display, the police came along. The kids loved those.

Oh, and because it was so late in the year, one of the school mums who is a photographer set up her Santa photography (% to the school)

QUOTE
Was thinking of either doing an opt out system for parental volunteers to man and supervise (but fear some may just not show up and leave us in the lurch). Was also thinking of (instead) roping in the year 6s and 7s to help man stalls (with one parent supervisor at all times throughout day).

Nope, wouldn't do Opt out.  I think you would get a let of parents resenting that and simply not turning up.  This is a weekend thing, outside of school hours, it needs to be volunteers.

Have short shifts available for stalls, parents are more likely to be willing to do an hour, rather than being stuck on a stall for several hours.


#12 smarty~pants

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:09 PM

Also just had DDs fete and the chocolate wheel was the biggest earner I believe. They had lots of donates meat trays plus the kids had to take a hamper item each to school and they made up hamper prizes.

At a friends recent fete - they made a bucket load of money by having tractor rides. Someones family member had a farm and brought his tractor with hay bails in thE back and he spent the day taking loads of kids around the outskirts of the school oval. All it cost the school was two tanks of fuel and they were charging $4 or $5 a ride ... Apparently they made over $2000

#13 JKTMum

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:10 PM

Our school has just had their 3rd fair. They hire rides and sell prepaid unlimited ridebands for a discount as well as selling those and individual ride tickets on the day. The rides are the most expensive outlay, generally it doesn't raise any money but it pulls in the crowds. They have a spread of rides to cater for preschoolers, primary aged and young teens.

Others stalls are Mystery jars (parents donate jars filled with toys, pencils, hairties, marbles etc or they can donate wine, sauce, jam etc for the adults), Treasure Island (numbered sticks in the sandpit which correspond to a prize, some big, some little), second hand books, trash and treasure (small stuff, no electrical), spinning wheel, Lolly stall (again each year level donates different types of lollies which are made up into different packs), Easter eggs (donated and made up into packs our fair is always just before Easter), cake/slice stall, plenty of food stalls, egg & bacon rolls, hot dogs, fairy floss, sausages, cold drinks, coffee cart, temporary tattoos, balloon man.

The school holds several casual dress days where the kids bring in the different donated items.

There is a kids raffle and an adult raffle tickets are sold prior through the families and on the day. The Lolly and Easter egg stalls also run their own raffles with big hampers.

People are asked to volunteer for an hour for the stall that is allocated to their child's class. The first two times people volunteered very readily but this year it was harder to get volunteers, I think they will need to make more of an issue of it next time. Year 6s were used one year on the second hand books, which worked ok. My older son who has gone onto secondary helped on one of the food stalls this year.

We have several families who have contacts with entertainment it community groups, dance groups, CFA, an impersonator who does a fantastic job.

#14 JRA

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:22 PM

good point about the electricity. Rides, coffee machines don't just need electricity they need the right electricity they need enough amps.

Yes, layout is important, people need to be able to get across the fair, and move through it.



#15 JRA

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:27 PM

Just a few more from DH

- First Aid: If you are getting St John's they need to be booked well in advance. The other commercial providers are quite expensive.
- Security: Don't forget about the security of the money, and how that is being managed.
- On electricity: Depending on the rides, some of the rides come with their own inbuilt generator
- Rides: If you have a few rides, don't forget how they get in and out of the area, and if crowded does ride A need to go into the area before ride B

#16 barrington

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:31 PM

Also adding that, if possible, to give out the times of performances to parents as soon as possible.  DS has told me that the choir he is in will be singing at the school fete.  But I have no idea what time his performance is, so am unable to let our class rep know what time I can help out at the stall.


#17 Pearson

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:43 PM

Whatever you do - dont over price items at the stalls.

I did DS sweet stall at his school in grade 1.  We made a record profit.  We priced everything well, not overly expensive, had a kiddies section (nice and cheap, like 5c a piece or such) so that they could afford it and mum n dad did not get that constant hit in the hip pocket.

I did however, walk away and refuse to do it ever again. Two reasons, I got very little help from other mothers, and took time off work to do a lot of stuff, and also very little help (assistance allocated on the day, donations allocated to our stall, and the guilts every time I put in a reimbursement request.  I was told that the previous stall holder paid for everything.) I think volunteers should be organised by the fete coordinator, and also that everything should be reimbursed.

I also second the food stalls, sometimes this can be more hassle than it is worth, and may be easier and more profitable to outsource.

#18 DreamFeralisations

Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:50 PM

If you have a tombola I have LOTS of moccona jars!!  Make sure everything is priced within reason.  DO NOT DO a cow patty lotto - the poor cow was in the heat in far too small a pen and FREAKED OUT and no patty resulted!!!

#19 Faradaye

Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:16 PM

I went to one last year and they had a ticket system for all purchases.

I guess it was for security or to simplify money counting at the end, but it was a complete pita for the attendees.

There was one central marque where you could buy tickets and these tickets then became your currency in the fete.  So anything you wanted to purchase, rides, food, drinks, all got paid for by tickets.  I guess the biggest problem was lack of signage and confusion about how to pay, where to buy the tickets, how many do I need for two icecreams etc.

People were lining up in huge lines, finally reaching the end and ordering their hotdog only to be told oh no you need to go over there and line up to buy tickets.

It wasn't well done and reduced how much money I spent as I refused to line up again for more tickets after the original lot were used up.

#20 Chelli

Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:28 PM

Plant stalls are very popular at our school fete. Gardeners donate off cuts and the kids start seedlings well before hand and that brings in the avid gardeners who are looking to add to their garden.

We also held a multiple raffle where each prize is roughly equal in value and has a box next to it. You purchase a ticket and then place it in the box of the prize you would like to win.

Some great ideas in this thread original.gif

#21 DreamFeralisations

Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:36 PM

Oh, and adding to the above, if you do have a garden stall, let everyone know IN ADVANCE - one year my daughter's class did it and we were informed 10 days ahead.  It takes far longer than 10 days to propogate lovely plants!!

#22 Indi

Posted 06 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

DD1's old primary school used to make roughly $15 - 18K on their fete, not bad for a school population of about 120.

Local businesses sponsored a lot of the rides.  Wrist bands for $25 or $15 for littlies were huge sellers. 2 different jumping castles, a large slide, bungey trampoline and a racing car track.

Mystery jars sold for $1.50.  Donated by the school community.  Probably sold 700 odd jars.

Good food.  A few outside quality food stalls for a set fee and percentage of takings, same with coffee van.

Better stalls were the home made/grown goods - big sellers were loaves of bread and fresh garden vegies.  Other money making stalls included the gardening stall and trash and treasure.

Lots of displays.  Fireys, SES, Ambulance.  We also had a tractor pull which attracted a crowd, also the local car club displayed their cars.  Anything to get people in the door.

Silent auction.  We had many things donated - weekends away, family tickets to attractions, local restaurant vouchers, bottles of wine, items of clothing etc.

Each class had a theme where kids donated an item for a basket which was added to the silent auction.  Themes were "mums", "dads", "families", "thank god it's Friday", "food".  The donated goods were amazing!


#23 #tootired

Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:50 PM

Our school fete is huge.

Every family is rostered on a stall for a 2 hour block - this works well, it means that all families have to attend. If you can't do your allocated time, it's your responsibility to make a swap. There are usually 2 or 3 parents on at the same time, then if someone doesn't show up there is a spare to cover.
Not sure if it's been mentioned but a gourmet cake/coffee stall is a good idea. Somewhere the parents can sit down have a coffee and a piece of cake. Parents rae asked to donate cakes/sandwiches.

Flower stall. Find a local wholesaler who might sell you some cut flowers at wholesale prices. Last year we got some carnations for 50 cents a bunch and sold them for $5.

#24 Guest_Cathode_*

Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:40 PM

QUOTE (suziej @ 06/04/2012, 11:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh, and adding to the above, if you do have a garden stall, let everyone know IN ADVANCE - one year my daughter's class did it and we were informed 10 days ahead.  It takes far longer than 10 days to propogate lovely plants!!


Oh, am planning on it.
It is in September next year, planning on starting advertising in the first school newsletter of 2013 original.gif

With power - the ones I have hired in the past (for Street festivals that I have done) have all had their own generators.


Thank you everyone. Some brilliant ideas!




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