Event Guide: Organise a Summer Fair

Organising a summer fair fundraising event at your school? Get an overview of everything you need to remember with our handy summary!

See a huge list of stall ideas here. Check out our other event guides… coming soon!

Date and Venue

Avoid clashing with other local events!

Agree your event date with the school well in advance to make sure key people are available, and give maximum prep time. You don’t want to be competing with other local schools for bouncy castles or ice cream vans…

Do you have the right entertainment licences and insurance? Its also a must to have qualified first aiders on hand, or for a large scale event maybe contact your local St. John’s Ambulance branch who could attend your fair for a small fee.

What extra equipment will you need? Gazebos, tables, chairs, a barbeque (or two!) and do you have a hose for the hook-a-duck paddling pool?!

What to do if it rains? No-one likes a soggy burger, so make sure you have a rainy day back up plan. Unless of course you have booked an indoor event such as a circus or travelling theatre group, which are fantastic all-weather fundraisers.

For a handy list of suppliers click here

Fun and games

The possibilities are endless!

Hopefully you’ve decided on a theme to focus on, this will make things a lot easier! A school anniversary, a patriotic celebration, a sporting theme tie-in, circuses, hog roasts, carnivals, summer picnics – the choice is yours. Fun games and plenty of activities to suit all ages make for a memorable and profitable event.

Is there a local celebrity or town official that would make an appearance at your fair? That’s one way of attracting the crowds!

A school parade is a guaranteed way of pulling in families. Each class could make hats, costumes or musical instruments in the week leading up to the fair, and take part in a colourful parade during the event. The kids will be desperate to join their classmates and show their friends and families their fabulous creations!

Check out our Pinterest boards here

Food and Drink

Yum yum......

What time is your fair taking place? Will you be attracting a lunchtime crowd or maybe afternoon tea? A BBQ or jacket potatoes with different fillings are low cost, good profit winners, or have a Bake Off-style competition and sell off slices of the cakes with a cuppa!

If your fair has a specific theme, you may want to reflect this in your refreshments menu. For example, a World Cup Carnival may have foods from some of the different competing countries.

Outside caterers may be interested in providing refreshments at your event for a share of the profits. Great advertising for them too! Some PTAs invest in or borrow popcorn or candyfloss machines, whilst others let the local ice cream man pitch up and sell his wares for a fixed fee or profit-share

Does your school have an alcohol licence? You may want to consider having a beer or Pimms tent, very summery! Mocktails or a pick ‘n’ mix sweet stall are great fun for the kids too.

Check out our mouth-watering recipes to cater for a crowd on our popular Pinterest page


Make sure there's something for everyone!

Colourful games and stalls will attract lots of attention at your event (and hopefully make lots of profit too!) Try allocating a stall per class to share the workload. How about letting the kids decide which games they are in charge of and what the prizes are?​

To save each stall having a float and handling lots of cash, you could use a token system. Customers buy a book of tokens (eg 4 tokens for £1) and these can be exchanged at games stalls.​

Ask local businesses to buy a pitch at your fair. It is a great profit-maker and good for their business too! You could also offer a reduced fee in exchange for a donation to a raffle or prize draw.​

Layout of stalls can be important – think about directing people around the fair so they don’t miss anything! Any stall that is likely to have long queues, for example face painting, could be placed near a refreshment stall to maximise footfall. Cunning, eh?​

Got any parents with specific skills, hobbies or talents? It’s great to know face painters, DJs, chefs, or anyone else whose skills and expertise you can utilise on the day.​


Maximise your fundraising potential....

Banners, flyers, social media or local newspapers are all excellent ways of advertising your event. And how about asking your local estate agent if you can put signs on their For Sale boards?​

Hold a prize draw or raffle and encourage parents and kids to flog ’em to family members or work colleagues. It’s a good way to promote your event and draw the crowds (your school will need a gambling licence though.) Make sure to announce the winners towards the end of the fair to keep the crowds there for as long as possible!​

Local shops or businesses can be a fab source of raffle prizes – they may even put up posters advertising your event in their shop window. Parents can also be a very useful source of prizes, particularly if they own a business or work for a generous company. So make sure you ask them!​

Create a programme, handed out in advance, with a list of attractions and their location, or a timetable of events. Also a great advertising space so tap your local businesses again for sponsorship and advertising, making the most of your captive audience.


The crucial element of any successful school fundraiser!

Gathering enough volunteers for a large event like a summer fair is a challenge for most schools. Class reps are excellent for this, or perhaps you can persuade the teachers to get involved too? They can speak to parents at the classroom door, or at parents evenings, and even print out a rota to put up outside the classroom.​

Of course if you don’t fancy running around collating reply slips and checking bulletin boards, you could arrive with a flourish in the 21st Century simply by setting up an online summer fair rota on PTAsocial’s free app for PTAs! It’s so easy for parents to just tick a box on their mobile/PC to pick their task. Job done.

When it comes to the PTA, parents are often put off by the fear of the unknown. So be clear and up front about what help you need, how long for, what they will be doing, and whether or not their kids can come and help out too. If you break up the work into manageable pieces you are more likely to pull in a bigger pool of helpers, and make it a much less daunting task for people.​

Make sure your school newsletter spreads the word about your summer event, and makes it clear your PTA is looking for everyone to muck in. Help them to feel good about being useful and making a real difference, without over-committing themselves.


Did you know that PTAsocial’s free app is used by 1500+ schools to organise events and recruit more volunteers?

Take 2 mins to start a free account for your PTA now!

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