Organising succssful fetes and fairs is all about creating that carnival-like atmosphere that everyone enjoys. The perfect school Fete has the fun and excitement of Sideshow Alley at one end, featuring a blaze of fairground sights and sounds; live on-stage entertainment and performances at the other end ; flanked by the hustle and bustle of Stalls, games and activities to one side, with the mouth-watering flavours of International Food Stalls, sweet-smelling Cakes, and aroma of roasting Coffee down the other.
Try and set up as much as possible the day before the Fete. Not only will this reduce the workload on the morning of the fete, you will identify any potential problems and have the time to find solutions. Consider having the following in place on fete eve:
- A Set Up Crew for marquees, stalls & Ezi Ups. Marquees look great and are traditional fete landmarks though are difficult to pick up & transport, not too mention erect. The use of Ezi Up style Quick Shades are definitely the trend.
- All electrical requirements: leads, fryers etc
You will also need to:
- Mark out each Stall's location with bright spray paint, which minimises confusion on the day
- Organise overnight security
- Organise access to the set up area for deliveries - are keys to gates available?
- Organise the Groundsman to be present on Fete day. He knows the school inside-out, and could prove to be an invaluable trouble-shooter, should problems arise such as loss of power, access to gates etc
- Ensure the Groundsman stops running the oval sprinklers a week before the Fete (unless the grounds are very dry). Wet ground soon turns to mud, which takes days to clean off equipment, not to mention the potential damage done to the oval surface by vehicles
- Consider having brightly coloured T Shirts printed with "Fete Committee" logos. These can be worn on the day of the event, by the main Convenors - plus, perhaps each activity's co-ordinator. This not only gives each person a feeling of belonging to the "Team"; the members stand out in the crowd, and are easily recognisable. Many schools now print & laminated Convenor Contact Cards, which list the contact numbers of Convenors, Security, Electricians etc. These can be handed out to all Activity and Stall co-ordinators
- Consider parking - Do you have sufficient parking? Surrounding streets may not offer sufficient parking which could deter attendance, especially those passing by. Perhaps use the school oval for parking with on-site Parking attendants
- Consider Toilets - are they available in the general area of the Fete? If not, ensure there's sufficient directional signage. Also confirm the key will be available on the day of the Fete to all toilet facilities
- Consider rubbish - Do you have enough bins? You may need a large Dump Bin or Skip for the final clean up. Bins will need to be regularly emptied during the day
- Approach all local schools that regularly holds Fetes, and propose a sharing of resources and advertising/promotion
- Consider channelling some of your profits into the purchase of plastic moulded Tables & Chairs, plus Ezi Up Shade Structures. Not only does this equipment come in handy for a variety of special events, you save time and effort in picking up and returning hired/borrowed gear
- Consider neighbours - Notify adjoining property owners of the Fete through letterbox drops. Ensure access gates are not blocked by parked cars, especially if wide truck access is required such as amusement rides, stages etc, If Fireworks are scheduled to finish off the festivities, inform residents within a 2km radius and suggest they ensure dogs are well secured
- Confirm First Aid - Book St John's Ambulance Service for First Aid & notify the Police of the event
- Consider Photography - There's always an amateur photographer amongst the school parent body. They may be happy to take photos of the event, which can be used for promotional advertising for future fetes, newsletters, media releases etc
- Pray for fine weather!
The Day has come!
Tastebuds are tingling as the gorgeous aromas from the International Food Stalls, drift freely throughout the Fair. The rides are all full, Trash and Treasure was cleaned out by bargain-hunters hours ago, parents have a chat in the Beer Garden as the Jazz Band get's into full swing on the main stage. Cash registers are ringing merrily, as thousands of dollars make their way from the multitude of stalls up to the Tally Room. Welcome to the modern school fete, where all the fun of the fair combines with the serious business of fund-raising.
- Ensure all public access gates are open, as are toilet facilities
- Main convenors should be wearing bright clothing/vests that stand out, and are contactable
- Ensure you have a complete list of all stalls, activities, suppliers and entertainers with mobile contact numbers
- Ensure there are sufficient rubbish bins that are emptied on an hourly basis
- Keep a list of Emergency volunteers on hand
- Ensure Emergency Vehicular access is maintained to the general Fete area
- Enjoy yourself....have fun... and don't stress!
The Carnival is over...
Once the Fete has finished, acknowledge & reward those volunteers who gave up their time to ensure your event was a success. The members of each Stall should be thanked and informed of how much was made at their stall. A BBQ is a great way of using up left over food and is really appreciated by the helpers. Any left over food that cannot be used in the Tuck Shop should be sent home with the helpers.
"Thank you" letters and Certificates of Appreciation can be sent to sponsors, plus organisations who donated goods - this is critical. Without some formal note of appreciation, you will have little chance of that organisation supporting the event again. We also suggest "thank you" certificates are forwarded to all Stall & Activity co-ordinators, who are leaving the school or will not be involved at the next Fete. This is an acknowledgement of their assistance.
Insert a Fete "Wrap Up" on the school website and in next school newsletter listing all main sponsors, supporters and helpers.
Write up a full report of the Fete, recording individual Stall/Activity figures, suggestions & recommendations. Put together three copies; one of which is given to the Principal, the other goes in the P&C/P&F File & the third stays with you for next Fete!
Congratulate yourself on a job well done!
Food for thought!
The first lesson often learned in the Entertainment Industry - "You can't please everyone!" No matter how successful the day is for you, there will always be the odd whisper of criticism. This could have been done better...why didn't they do that. Always remember, those that complain the most, contribute the least.
Focus on the positives, and feel proud in the fact your efforts have resulted in a day filled with fun and enjoyment for parents and children alike.
VOLUNTEERS DON'T GET PAID, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE WORTHLESS - BECAUSE THEY ARE PRICELESS!