Tips for organising your School Fair
Where do you begin?
Organising a successful School Fair takes a lot of planning. The key to success is a well organised, enthusiastic and motivated committee. It will be necessary to organise regular meetings, initially monthly, and then fortnightly and weekly as the day grows closer. Initial committee meetings should review the aims and objectives of the activity.
If possible, draw on the previous year’s committees for advice and experience. Encourage as many people as possible to join, or become a ‘friend of’ the committee. Once your Fair Committee is in place, allocate specific tasks to individual members. Key members of the committee will include Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary
You then need to appoint co-ordinators for each stall and activity. These co-ordinators may appoint their own sub-committee, made up of parents and friends willing to assist. The co-ordinator will need to organise helpers on the day, and organise a roster of those volunteers. It will also be their responsibility to source items for the stall. Appointing these coordinators takes the pressure off the key Fair committee members. Consider making each year group within the school responsible for a particular stall.
If your school has a large ethnic mix, approach those groups to provide food or craft stalls based on their country of origin.
You will also need to appoint co-ordinators to look after the following:
* Equipment hire * Electrical requirements
* Publicity * Signs – for display at the Fair
* Security * Competitions
* Sponsorship * First Aid
Selecting a Date
The most important starting point is a date. Consult with other schools or groups in your area who might be holding similar events. You do not want your date to conflict with another local school hosting a similar function. You will also need to ensure that your school is not involved in any major sporting events away from the school on that date. Check also that you don’t coincide with such sporting events as grand finals.
Draw a map of the grounds/hall and plan out where each stall should be positioned. Pay attention to the mix of stalls. It is best to confine your Fair to a limited area rather than spreading through the entire grounds. In this way, you keep your audience circulating around your stalls. Spreading out too much can loose customers. Choose an area that has good flat sites and, if possible, electricity. On the day of the Fair a map can be handed out to people as they enter so they can easily locate the stall they are looking for. This map can be on the back of the day’s programme of events. Have your event co-ordinators dressed in clothes that are easy to spot so that people arriving to set up stalls can easily find them. On the day of the Fair, consider using spray paint on grass, or chalk on bitumen and concrete, to mark out stall areas, or use prominent signs.
Select a central area for the stage for entertainment (if you have any). Ensure this area has plenty of clear space for audiences
Selecting a Theme for your event
Theming your event is a good basis for stall selection. Possibilities are endless. Popular themes are country fairs, Christmas & Summer fairs, multi-cultural – international fairs, etc. Your theme can set the mood for the day and the colour scheme – going with a country fair your coordinators can be encouraged to dress their stalls with hay and dried flowers, an international fair can use flags. You could encourage the children to dress in keeping with the theme and have prizes for the best dressed.
You will need to appoint one or two people to act as MC for the day. You will need to ensure that a good sound system is in place – one that can be heard from the entire site. MC’s must be given a comprehensive listing of stalls so they can promote them throughout the day and “specials” as they come to hand, as well as raffles, lost children, etc.
Consider sourcing entertainment from within your school or social group. If each class is encouraged to perform one song/dance routine on the day, you are assured of a good turnout of families. Liaise with the performing arts section of your school for special performances such as dance, bands, etc.Also look to your local community - sports displays such as Martial Arts and local dance schools might be popular. If your school hall is rented out to sporting groups they will probably be delighted to put on displays and promote their activity as well.
Publicity is an extremely important aspect – it is vital that you get the message out to the local community. Appoint a publicity officer to promote the event. Local newspapers will generally give free publicity for events. Invite local schools to attend. Search your school community for people with contacts in media or PR, as well as printing for posters. Assess the possibility of a major prize for attending.
School newsletters are a major promotion tool to school families. Include an extra sheet specifically for Fair promotion. Start well in advance and promote a different stall each week using a different coloured paper. Your school family is where you source your goods. Target a different item each week seeking requests for donations and help. Actively promote businesses which have offered help or sponsorship for the event. Offer prizes to the class with collects the most donations. Have free dress days leading up to the Fair and ask for a donation of food, cake ingredients and other items in return for not wearing a uniform.
Check with local councils before placing posters on streets as this may be prohibited in some areas. Many radio stations run a community hot line and will promote your event on air at no cost.
Security and Money
It is essential that a secure area be set aside for collection and counting of money. Generally the school office area. You must have an area which can be locked. School Fairs, fairs and festivals, when well organised, can raise considerable sums of money. Coins and money bags are available from your bank. It may even be possible for a coin counting machine to be made available. Make floats available for stall holders prior to the Fair commencing.
Keep detailed records of the amounts given. Supply stall holders with bags for collecting money during the day. People collecting money should wear a badge to identify themselves to stall holders. Ensure that stall holders know the correct procedure for handing over money during the day. Ensure that adequate change remains on the stall. Ensure you have calico bags made in advance for each stall. Make and clearly name two for each stall – cash collectors need to know what stall money came from so it can be correctly recorded.
New parents to the school may bring new ideas. Look for businesses owned within the school All items should be priced prior to the Fair commencing. . Generally prices should be a little below the shop prices for a similar item. Don’t change prices until late in the day - towards the end of the Fair it may be decided to reduce prices to encourage quick sales. This should be discussed with the Fair coordinator. Always ask companies if they are willing to provide stock on consignment – this will save you having leftover stock at the end of the day and save you having to reduce prices.
For lots of different stall ideas, click here
After the Event
Immediately after the event, put on a barbeque/reception for all the parents who helped. It is a great way of using up left over food and is really appreciated by the helpers.
Don't forget to write thank you letters to all the organisations who donated goods and the people who gave their time to make your event a success
If you've some great tips to add on runing a school fair, please add them to the comments section below
A Friendly Disclaimer
We hope you find these tips useful. They are however only tips and we don’t claim to be experts or cover all the angles. We don't accept responsibility for any loss where anyone acts or refrains from action as a result of material on this web page