Essential Fete Features
People today lead very busy lives, with the average family weekend crammed with various sporting events, lifestyle activities, shopping and social engagements. Whilst everyone enjoys the local fete and fair, extensive advertising is sometimes not enough to get them there. Convenors need stronger forms of "encouragement" to maximise attendance, and this comes with commitment.
Commitment is an essential factor in getting people through your gates, and this begins with the students enrolled at the school.
If every student is scheduled to perform as part of the Entertainment Program on the day, you are assured the majority of students will attend, along with their parents.
Attendence may also be encouraged through the purchasing of "pre-sold" ride passes; and with students/parents assisting with class-run stalls.
Once the advertising and promotion begins, people soon become aware that the fete is being held. A certain amount of interest in the event must then be created, so that families and the general public have a reason to attend.
Whilst virtually every child loves the fun of the fair, it's the parents who make the decision as to whether the family goes long or not. Your marketing must be directed at the parents highlighting those features that they will appreciate and enjoy.
Not only do we want families to attend the Fete, we'd like them to remain for the whole day, as the longer people stay, the more they spend. Whilst children may be happy spending their day at the Fete on the rides, games and activities; we need to entertain the adults too. As far as parents are concerned, the "must haves" at every Fete include:
A full program of in-house and local on-stage entertainment is vital. Parents love watching their children perform, and having continuous live entertainment adds another dimension to the event.
On-stage entertainment is the heart beat of the Fete. Ensure a full program of non-stop in-house and external entertainment is scheduled from start to finish.
Having an MC present on the day is a huge bonus. People with outgoing personalities are best. Ensure there is a good PA/Sound system in place, so that announcements can be heard across the entire site. The school Sound System may not be sufficient, and you may have to hire a system that meets your requirements. Use an FM microphone if possible, as the MC can then roam the Fete, making announcements at each Stall, while drawing the attention of the crowd. Supply the MC with a Running Sheet, listing all Stalls to promote, and performances to announce. The role of the MC is to:
- Introduce each performance
- Promote the various stalls
- Announce any special offers or sales
- Announce the winner of raffles
- Promote all major sponsors
- Make general announcements - lost property, lost children etc
Check with the Performing Arts department of your school for special school-based performances such as Dance & bands. Some senior students may volunteer to act as mobile spruikers & entertainers, or dress up as roving clowns. For something different, consider an Australian Idol type talent competition.
When sourcing entertainment, always give school-based performers priority - choir, dance, bands, gymnastics etc. By encouraging classes to perform one song or dance routine on the day, their presence and that of their families is assured. If you have any spare time slots, consider inviting outside groups such as Martial Arts & Dance Groups.
Keep the carnival atmosphere flowing, by ensuring a different activity or form of entertainment is going on at all times, & music is playing in between activities & announcements.
External Displays and Performances
Many local community groups will be more than happy to promote their product at the fete or set up a display. This is not only great entertainment; it encourages wider community participation and attendance. Football Clubs may set up Promotional Stalls, with players & mascots making special appearances at the Fete. New Clubs are particularly keen on such promotions. Local Police and Fire Brigades are often keen to promote their service displaying equipment such as Patrol Cars & Fire Trucks.
Apart from School-based performances, your Entertainment Program may include a selection from various outside entertainers/displays such as:
- Fitness Clubs, Aerobics Classes and Gymnastics Displays
- Cheerleaders, Belly Dancers and Middle Eastern Dance
- Contemporary Dance Studios, Jazz Dancing and Latin Dance
- Karate Clubs and Tae-kwon Do Clubs
- Irish Dance, Hip Hop Dance and Pipes and drums
- Dog obedience Schools, School Idol/Talent Competition and Sporting Celebrities
International Food has never been so popular, and is a huge drawcard! Lifestyle Shows promote endless tastes and flavours; Foodies are flocking to alfresco-style restaurants and eateries; a wide variety of Food Trucks can be found at every community festival. There will always be a place at the school fete for the Sausage Sizzle and Aussie BBQ, however if you want to pull a big crowd, International Food is a must. Curries are extremely popular at School Fetes and Fairs, along with Asian, South-American and European dishes.
Everyone loves a bargain, with Stalls such as Trash & Treasure, Books, and Pre-Loved Clothing three of the most popular. Market Style Stalls serve a purpose, however they can be found every weekend in most areas. It's the school-based Stalls that are of most interest to the parents, and these are the key drawcards that will maximise attendance at your Fete.
Inviting external Market Stall Holders to attend a fete at a nominal site fee, may seem like an easier option, however it's the in-house school-based stalls that will always draw the largest crowds.