Do you have any advice for coordinating a primary school fete?

Reader question:

For those of you who have experience coordinating a primary school fete, what tips would you give to someone who has been tasked to lead this event (held every two years) on a date set in six months’ time?

Here is some advice from our Facebook community on coordinating a primary school fete:

Our first reader asked:

  • Does anyone have a checklist they are willing to share? – Your wish is our command… Introducing ‘FETE IN A BOX‘ our Fete countdown planner!

Here’s what more readers had to say:

  • PLAN! Plan what should happen and when by, who is responsible etc. Plan what needs to happen in the week/day before. Plan for the day and make sure everyone knows what they are doing and when… don’t just wing it. Oh, and book st. Johns first aid now… they are usually booked out 6-12 months in advance. Good luck!
  • I spent a couple of weeks getting all the information ready to give to our small group of dedicated parents. First step is to create an organisational chart of duties such as Stall Coordinator, Donations Coordinator, Facilities/Equipment Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Rides Coordinator, Compliance Officer, Community Stall Coordinator, Raffle Organiser, etc if you get my drift and ask specific people to take on that role. If you can break it down into roles/responsibilities of that role to give them an idea and a head start, they should be able to start without feeling overwhelmed. Create a flow chart with who works with who to get them to liaise with each other and start meetings every couple of weeks. Create structure. Ask each year level/pairs of classes to run a stall and request a parent to run it with a couple of others. Ask for help from every family to donate, volunteer on a stall, etc. but don’t worry about that just yet. Let us know if you want more info. I still have all my documents, manuals, notes, forms, etc.
  • Create a timeline. It’s very important everybody is working on the same time frames and events happen in the correct order, without forgetting what needs to be done.
  • Book rides now. Get sponsors now. Outsource what you can so fewer volunteers are needed. Communicate with your community regularly so they know what is going on and how they can help along the way. Apply for any grants! Lord Mayor’s Community Initiative is the one I have gotten each year. Get fund approved by your p&c ahead of time and a bit over budget so you don’t get stuck waiting for last minute approvals.
  • Now is when you can book in banner space from Council. Now is when you touch base with major sponsors and regular sponsors. Do what you can now before the mad rush! Start getting your committee ready. I’d have a meeting soon. Discuss what Stalls you want, how many volunteers you’ll need, donations you need. What equipment needs to be hired?! Hire it as soon as possible. Need more bins? Hire extra from the council (fee applies) but book it in! 6 months will fly!

This is an important one:

  • Make sure everything you have a wet weather plan for everything you have booked.
  • Decide on big prizes for Fete raffle or Auctions if you (the school) are spending money on this. It took our school council too long to decide and left sales too late.
  • Book all external entertainment and food stalls first and make a checklist of what you do along the way to refer to next time
  • Use a ticket system instead of each stall handling cash. We find daytime is better than night time. Don’t have too many party plan vendors or expensive outside providers. Use the students for creating signs & crafts to sell. Ask local businesses for donations to raffle. Relax & have fun!
  • Recruit lots of volunteers …. (Many hands make light work.) Allocate each class /year group to run a stall eg. Year 1 cake stall, year 2 plant stall etc.

And the most important point of all:

  • The stress of it all is outweighed by the fun you can have along the way. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

To read more about this topic click on the Facebook image at the top of the page to head to the thread. While you’re there, make sure you like our Facebook page if you don’t already!

Originally published 3 December, 2018

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