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1. Fete location
Fete location seems like an obvious thing to decide but have you thought of all the different, sometimes competing, demands on your available space? From my experience, a flat space (like a sports oval or car park) is best. There’s merit in keeping the event space limited too (without being too squeezy). A defined space creates natural pathways and the ‘crowd’ effect lends itself to a carnival atmosphere. A locality that can be seen from a main road ticks boxes because it can draw in passing traffic.
Early in the planning, draw a scaled site map for your fete location. Plan where each stall goes. This requires consultation with the stall convenors. Some have unquestionable needs. For example, amusement rides need a large flat surface with easy road access. Pony ride and animal farms need space too—but small animals and the shrieks from sideshow rides do not mix. Keep them well separated. A petting farm with about 30 animals needs a space at least 10m in diameter. Pony rides needed a cordoned-off riding circle about 80m wide.
Live entertainment requires a stage and space for an audience to sit and stretch out. A grassy area is ideal; shady trees make it even better.
Live entertainment and food stalls are just two users of power. Power leads typically can run no more than 30m. Try to group all stalls and activities requiring power in one section, close to the main power supply. Get expert advice early on power needs: you may need to hire generators.
Allow access to the general fete area for an emergency vehicle, just in case.
A typical fete layout on an oval may go like this:
- Stage at one end of the oval, as far from rides as possible, so that performances are not ‘drowned out’ by sideshow alley
- Carnival rides at the opposite end of the oval
- In-house stalls and activities requiring power to one side of the oval, close to school buildings and power outlets
- Outside vendors and stall operators (providing their own power using generators) on the opposite side of the oval
- Static stalls, not requiring power, down the centre of the
- A breakout tent (or multiple tents if there is space) in the
middle of the oval.
Closer to the day, mark out where each stall is to be set up and number each section, so that it is easily recognised. Use spray paint for grass and chalk for concrete. Do a walk-through ahead of the event, ensuring
each spot has the access it needs for set-up. If you are using a new ride company, have a rep along for the walk-through. Their experience really can save you headaches.
Provide all stall holders and committee members with a site plan and the contact numbers of all activity coordinators.
Including a copy of the site map on your fete flyer makes a handy reference for visitors.
Tip: A clever way to prepare a site map is to zoom in on the fete grounds on Google Earth, and then trace the buildings. Your plan will be as accurate as humanly possible! Save the blank map for future years.
Go to next chapter: Fete entertainment
Go to previous chapter: A fete file: Fete convenor’s bible
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