Last Minute: 10 Ideas for Fete Organisers
You have your team at the ready, your wet weather plan in place and stall holders and performers all confirmed but to be sure that you have the best event possible, we’ve put together a bunch of ‘last minute’ suggestions for fete convenors!
1. Run Sheet
To ensure everything runs smoothly and on time on the big day it’s vital to have a good run sheet. Make sure that it’s clear and up to date and that everyone on your fete committee and other volunteers have a copy.
If you can, and to be sure everyone is on the same page, have a run-through with all concerned before your event. Even if you are going to be using walkie talkies for communication with your key people, it’s still a good idea to include mobile phone numbers of committee members on your run sheet as back up. Sarah from our Fete Convenors Group told us that often a good MC will produce a run sheet for you. Bonus!!
You’ve put all that hard work in, so of course, you want your event documented! Having a dedicated photographer is the best way to catch all those camera-worthy moments during your event and those happy snaps can come in very handy for future marketing and sponsor recognition as well as sharing with your community through Facebook or your newsletter.
Now, we’re certainly not saying that you need to go and hire a professional photographer, which can be very expensive. There will undoubtedly be someone in your community who is a little bit handy with a camera and could take photos for you. Negotiate ‘payment’ in food or drinks or a free ride wristband for their kids. If you can get more than one photographer, even better, as you can get different perspectives from each one.
As well as capturing the delights of the days, brief them with shooting the boring ‘sponsor’ stuff (signage, stalls, giveaways) so you can post it to sponsor pages when saying thank-you afterwards.
3. Communication Plan
Walkie-talkies – check! (If you’re a smaller group, don’t stress, mobiles are great too!) Phone list of all stall convenors/first aid – check! Everyone knows how to use walkie-talkies??????? Don’t take for granted that everyone knows how to use these. It can be very frustrating if you only ever here half the message or they don’t say who the message is for. Create some ‘call signs’ for a bit of fun! Prepare for the end of day sale announcements – give each stall a form so they can write their message requests and when they want them to happen. Send someone around to collect these throughout the day, or even better, get them to take a photo and text it to the MC. Announcements like the raffle and silent auction closing times can be slotted into the run sheet that the MC uses prior to the day. ’30 minutes to go’ and ’10 minutes to go’ announcements are a great way to generate sales
4. Money handling
Without fail your stalls will get hit with big notes ($20’ and $50’s), especially first thing, so make sure you have a tonne of change for each of your stallholders as well as back up (and someone act as a runner) to avoid chaos. When it comes to keeping your money safe, there are any number of ways of holding your money from cash tins, to bum bags and money belts or even the old-fashioned ice cream container. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s well labelled with the stall name and it’s super important to have a dedicated money collection person (or team – two people is best!) so stalls are not holding hundreds and hundreds of $$$’s. We had a great suggestion to collect excess cash from stalls in labelled pencil cases. A great way of tracking how much each stall is bringing in to help figure out whether it’s viable for next time.
Assigning a parking attendant is especially helpful in the setup phase when stall holders and performers or entertainment are arriving and often have no idea where to go. If you have special guests that you know will be attending, allocate a parking space for them and make sure that your stall holder, performer and special guest parking are well signed to avoid confusion.
Ensure the attendant has a map and walkie-talkie so that they can more easily direct everyone where they need to go. Someone to co-ordinate the site set-up once they get to the oval or wherever they are going is also useful. Ensure that the parking plan has been communicated to the parent community as well. Parents will use their ‘inside knowledge’ to get a close park however if that area is being set aside for a VIP or as a no park zone for safety, you’ll need to let them know prior to the day.
6. Jack (or Jill) of all trades
As convenor, the ultimate goal is that everything will run smoothly, but as we know, this is not always the case and you can’t be everywhere at once, so enlist one or two volunteers who are happy to support you and take care of anything that crops up that you can’t deal with or who can jump in their car and do a mad dash to the shops if necessary.
They should also carry a supply of stationery essentials – sticky tape, scissors, pens, blue tack, markers, pins, string, even zip ties. As they say, if zip ties can’t fix it, you’re not using enough zip ties! Keep a car park close to the action just for this purpose so that they aren’t walking kilometres back to the fete after someone steals their car park.
If any aspect of your fete purchasing is online (auction, ride passes, raffles) make sure you have a charging station set up for ipads, laptops and merchant terminals (eftpos). While many fete goers have their own smartphones you still need to cater for those who don’t have them or just would rather deal with a person. Also ensure there is spare fuel for your generators (those fairy floss machines can be thirsty!) and that the stall holders who are relying on it, know where it is.
8. Pack Down Plan
While the set-up for a fete is usually carefully planned, the pack down also needs to be coordinated, especially if you have borrowed items from other schools or families or hired equipment. This will make returning the items a lot easier and also prevent hired items from accidentally being taken home at the end of the day. Marking the hired items or marking on your plan where the hired items have been allocated will also help out here.
These little things that no-one notices unless they aren’t done well. Make sure that there is a spot for lost children and someone to supervise them. Also, plan how lost children will be announced over the PA (for safety consider putting a call out for their parents to come to the stage versus saying there is a lost child). Vomit/spill kit – kids and rides and too much sugar – need we say more.
Have someone responsible for bin patrol and emergency cleaning so that rubbish stays manageable, the last thing you want to be doing at the end of the day is picking up litter! Perhaps that person can also be responsible for replenishing soap and toilet paper – something that is often overlooked.
If you’ve used school buildings make sure you’ve worked out a clean-up plan that has been approved by the principal so that the school is back to normal for Monday.
10. Emergency Contacts
Picture this….it’s 10 pm the night before the fete, the security crew are doing a patrol before settling down for the night, when they come across a snapped off water pipe in the middle of the oval. The unknown victim of an earlier collision. Water is gushing everywhere, right where the rides are supposed to be in just a few hours. They call the convenor but the convenor has no way of contacting the Principal or Groundsman to find out where the mains water tap was. Two lessons from this one. First, make sure your set up plan has water mains locations listed as it is hard to find these in the dark. Secondly, have a conversation with the principal about their expectations for emergency situations (contact details for plumbers/electricians etc). This includes negotiating a ‘last resort’ phone number that only the convenor or P&C President has so that it can be used in the event of an emergency – even the most privacy conscious Principal should agree to that.
We hope these last-minute ideas for fete convenors helps you to better enjoy your day. You deserve it.
Happy Fete Day!