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#PTAhour – Summer Fair Q&A

by PTAsocial in May 2, 2018

With so many PTAs knee-deep in summer fair planning, we thought this would be the perfect topic for our sixth #PTAhour.

We had an overwhelming response on our PTA Q&A Facebook group and also on Twitter, with loads of you asking questions and sharing ideas – you’re such a helpful bunch!

So here’s a round up of some of the great advice you shared. We’ll tell you how you can get involved in the next #PTAhour at the end of this blog!

Entertainment

Lots of you joined in the conversation to tell us what entertainment you put on during your big summer event.

“We tend to invite the country dancers to dance and the choir to sing, it’s some lovely entertainment also that way the parents stay for longer which means hopefully spend a bit extra.”
Julie W

“We got our school choir and samba band at the event. Also looking to see if a local dance club will come along.”
Laura A

“We have the same as above a school dance club, choir and usually an outside club come in and do jazz/modern dance. The kids also do a maypole which is always good. This year as it is superheroes we are going to try to get all the kids to do a parade around the field.”
Nikki O

“At our Christmas fair we had a professional Elsa come and sing, dance and entertain. The kids loved it, she is coming back for summer as Poppy the troll. We also have our choir and dance club. We also have our local karate club come and demo. That’s always good, they bring lots of extra kids who spend at the fair!”
Natalie S-N

“We have had a meerkat guy come in, local fire brigade, clown, Stormtroopers (not all at the same time…)”
Esther H

“We invite local groups to do displays. Including: Zumba (kids), ballet, martial arts, majorettes, etc.”
Marie B

Advertising

Esther asked our Facebook PTA Q&A group:
“How do you go about getting sponsorship or advertising?”

“We produce a lovely programme. Professionally designed and printed and we sell ad space – made over £1000 last year! We also do estate agent boards – that’s another £500 or so. Going rate is £10/board. Occasionally a new agent offers more to muscle in on the action.”
Nicola J

“We have been exceptionally lucky. We have been sponsored by an estate agent so we have less pressure on spending!”
Natalie S-N

“Banners outside school and around town, last year we were sponsored by a local estate agent who put boards up. They also donated a cash raffle prize and we had advertising banners up around the fair in return.”
Lizzie P

Stalls

We had some brilliant suggestions for games and stalls, you’re a very creative bunch!

“We do panning for gems which is always the most popular. We fill a few deep plastic boxes (like under the bed ones) with sand and put the coloured glass stones in and mix up, we put water in the box too so its like real panning. We bought some metal gold panning trays and the children keep what they find. We used gold painted stones once but they are expensive.”
Belinda C

“Buy walking pet balloons on Amazon £89 for 100, hire helium with an extra thin nozzle for £80, and sell for £5 each. Build a pen to tie them up in.”
Debbie P

“We tend to do lots of game type stalls in the summer as we hope to be outside, soak the staff, roll a 10p, hook a duck, coconut shy – good outdoor games.”
Charlotte S

“We always run a craft area – normally an easy colouring /painting/sticking for the little ones then slightly harder 1-2 for older ones: paint a wooden spoon/peg in the theme of the fair, make a mask/hat, colour and make a pinwheel, etc. Lots of ideas on Pinterest!”
Nikki O

“Wine and water is one of our best sellers! You wrap loads of screw top wine bottles (start collecting them asap!) Some contain water and some contain wine, then you attach raffle tickets to them and people pick tickets out of a hat, they don’t know if they’ll win water or wine!”
Laura B

“We do a silent auction. All items donated by local and national companies. Made over £1500 at last fete!”
Nicola J

“We did a cake competition. A local cake maker came and awarded rosettes to the winning children and then auctioned off the cakes.”
Emily D

Tanya had a question about a particular stall, “How much do you charge for a go on a bouncy castles? How long for? Also we are thinking of having a bouncy assault course, what would you charge?”

“We always do inflatables free. We figure it’s a nice thing to give back to the children and the parents can relax and spend on bbq/bar/stalls.”
Marie B

“Either 50p/£1 for 5 mins.”
Charlotte S

“We sell wristbands for £5.. then they can have unlimited goes… “
Sarah O

“This year I am going to try charging £5 for unlimited goes on the inflatables instead of £3 for 10 mins. I have hired an assault course and slide and I have 2 standard castles for free. Hoping to make £500 profit as it could keep people there longer.”
Debbie P

For loads more stall inspiration, don’t forget to check out this Ultimate List of Summer Fair Ideas!

Outside stalls

Emma M posted this query, “Do you have external stall holders paying for a stall at your summer fairs? If so, are there any regulations about what they can sell and do you set a limit of how many you have? We’re debating it for our Fair this year.”

“Yes. We limit them depending on space. Only restriction is that everything they are selling must be appropriate for the kids to see. You need to start now though as vendors get booked up early for summer. We charge £15 per stall. Some schools also ask for a raffle prize but we scrapped that after Christmas as the value of prizes was vastly different and I didnt think it was fair!”
Natalie S-N

“Yes we do. A variety of different stalls so no duplicates and nothing that isn’t suitable for kids. £15 per table. Limited number available in case of bad weather and what we have planned needs to come inside.”
Lyndsey G

“We charge £20 per stall – but we are on a busy high street and get a lot of passing trade. No food that competes with our bbq. One person runs it and she allocates spaces.”
Nicola J

“Summer Fayre… £25 per stall… I avoid duplicating stalls.”
Sarah O

Volunteers

Esther H wanted to know, “Is a class responsible for stalls or is it left open to volunteers?”

“We do volunteers. We have some classes that wouldn’t have any volunteers if we did it that way. Most of our volunteers tend to come from the same classes.”
Natalie S-N

“If we need donations for particular raffle items, this is done by class e.g. one class will donate toiletries and one will bring in children’s items. Stalls on the other hand are left open to volunteers.”
Simone W

“We allocate stalls eg bbq, games etc to a specific year group. Same year every year so each year only gets to do, say, the bbq, once.”
Nicola J

“We put a list of stalls up in the staff room and get each teacher to help out on a stall, that way the children tend to go straight to the stall that their teacher is on.”
Julie W

“We allocate years to do set stalls and the class reps work incredibly hard to get people to help out! We always have a few “floating helpers” just on case.”
Nikki O

Food and drink

Filling hungry tums can be one of the most profitable ways to earn your cash at a summer fair (especially if it’s held over a lunch time!) But how do you know what to sell and how much stock to buy?

Fairfields PTA said, “We are hoping to have a BBQ, beer tent and prosecco and Pimms tent. We are a school of approx 500 and it’s a Sunday afternoon. Any idea where to start with how much to buy?!”

“I always worry about too much/not enough! We have about 500 attend and ours is on a Saturday. I think we go for 400 burgers and 200 sausages. Cider didn’t sell well but beer did, people didn’t seem bothered on what sort. Prosecco always goes down well. Have you asked a supermarket if you can do a sale or return on unopened bottles? We haven’t before but we are going to ask this year.”
Natalie S-N

“For our school disco, we made 300 bags of popcorn from 9 bags of kernels, half a bag of sugar and think it was about half a bottle of oil. Bags of kernels we got from Home Bargains at 79p each. We put the popcorn in red striped paper bags and they were a huge hit. Plan to do the same at the Summer Fair and charge 50p per bag. So it can make a good profit.”
Emma M

“Yes BBQ popular, tried first time at Christmas (as well as summer) went down very well! We have a popcorn machine and have borrowed a candy floss machine from another school which was popular also!”
Esther H

“We usually have a BBQ. Also tea and cake (we always end up with too much cake!). Last year we had cream teas, Pimms and I think we had a sweet stall.”
Simone W

“Our BBQ is sponsored by the local butcher and raises a large portion of our profit, why not try hot dogs (frankfurters) as they are nice and easy, just keep them in hot water.”
Debbie P

“Bbq is one of our biggest earners along with the drinks tent.”
Emma P

“We do a bbq, sell ice lollies from freezer and also have a van that sells soft serve ice cream. All seems to work well together. Oh and we have a cake and tea room.”
Emily D

“At our circus event a few years back we had a hog roast. Our local butchers provided everything we needed, and we asked people to pre-order their hot pork rolls so we had a rough idea of what we’d need. The only downside was getting up at 6am to start cooking!! We’ve also done jacket potatoes and a BBQ in the past.”
Charlotte C

If you’re still in need of some inspiration, our Pinterest page has some gorgeous ideas for summery drinks and barbeque food 🙂

And to round off our Summer Fair Q&A, here’s a few more ideas and tips from our brilliant followers!

“This year I am hoping to rope in the year 6 to run our games stalls and operate a token booth. £1 for 4 tokens and each game 1 token. Winners will receive tokens and can amass them to get larger prizes.”
Debbie P

“We have decided on a Jurassic theme (as our school is on the Jurassic Coast). Last year we had a circus theme which was great. We hired a circus skills entertainer for £30/hour and it was great. All the children loved having a go.”
Marie B

“A tombola is a great fundraiser. Kids wear what they want usually the day before in exchange for a bottle or box of something which goes into the tombola.”
Netherlee PTA

“We do something very similar to Netherlee. On Silly Sock Day, kids wear their silliest socks in return for bringing a bottle for the tombola.”
Simone W

“This time I think we are scrapping the raffle (in favour of an auction.) We have loads of local prizes but we’ve also today asked for parent pledges, lawn mowing, dog walking etc.”
Natalie S-N

“We charge £10 per child in advance and £12 on the day but everything is included inc bouncy castle, balloon modeling, crafts and about 10 game stalls. Then we just charge for food, drink, and bottle/sweet jar tombolas.”
Belinda C

Phew, that was a supersized #PTAhour! What a clever lot you are, we hope you’ve picked up lots of great ideas and tips for your summer events. There’s even more advice on running a super successful summer fair in this handy Event Guide too!

We’d love to hear about what your PTA planning for the summer term, maybe we could share your success story too! Tweet us @PTAsocial, email us or share your ideas with over 600 other PTA-ers in our fast-growing Facebook PTA Q&A group!

And mark your diaries for the next #PTAhour, Wednesday 23rd May, 8-9pm GMT. Full details of how to take part here.

PTAsocial makes organising events super-easy and inclusive by allowing volunteers to pick out a specific, manageable task. It’s completely free, so just start an account for your school right now in 2 minutes.

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