Whether the school year is beginning or ending, it usually means a celebration! Planning a school fair can be a big task. There are lots of moving parts and elements to consider. But never fear, we’ve got you covered. Here are some things to include when planning your school fair, big or small.
If you’re hosting a fair outside, a big, flat area is best. This will make it much easier to set up tents, concessions, seating, and games. Parking lots or playgrounds are great options, which are usually available at your school. If the event is inside, gymnasiums or lunch rooms could also work. You’ll be a bit more limited on activities, however.
Also, unless you’re planning on bringing in portable toilets, keep the distance to the bathroom from the festivities in mind! Make sure there are plenty of trash bins around to cut down on the after-party cleanup. If you’re using the parking lot for the festivities, you’ll need to have another option for people to park. This should be clearly marked with signs or even parking attendants to keep cars in the appropriate areas.
Food and Drink
Fairs are known for their spread of junk food, so embrace it! Foods on a stick are easy options and can be purchased in bulk for fairly cheap. Corn dogs or hot dogs are usually crowd-pleasers. You could hire local barbecue joints to bring in their portable smokers to serve food on the spot. Food trucks are becoming more popular too, and are a fun way to serve refreshments!
Pretzels, funnel cakes, popcorn, cotton candy, snow cones, and ice cream are all fair staples. Give yourself a break and hire a concessions company to come in and take care of it for you! Most offer popcorn machines, cotton candy machines, and more.
For drinks, keep tubs of ice filled with cans of soda and bottles of water around to make it easy for guests to grab what they want.
Games, Rides, and Activities
Who doesn’t have a memory of winning a giant stuffed animal at a fair? A school fair can be just as memorable! Impress your guests with classic carnival games like ball tosses, dart throws, pick-a-duck, bean bag tosses, and more. You can easily create the games yourself or bring in the pros for that authentic experience. These could be great fundraisers for your school too. Maybe have the principal volunteer at the dunk tank for $1 per throw?
If you have the space and budget, why not have some rides at your school fair? Inflatables like bounce houses and obstacle courses or rock climbing walls and bungee jumps will keep your guests thrilled all day and night! Or set up a trackless train and let the kids go on a ride that winds throughout the festivities. Some companies offer a discount for non-profit events or for bundling multiple activities with them, so be sure to ask!
Next, a face painting station is always a winner. Transform your students and other guests into tigers, fairies, superheroes, dragons…anything they can imagine! If you’re expecting a large crowd, it may be a good idea to have 2 face painters to keep the lines moving.
Animal entertainment is another great addition to a fair. Let the kids (and adults) get some cuddle time with bunnies, chicks, goats, and pigs at a petting zoo. Students can learn about exotic animals or even reptiles in a more formal presentation. After all, it is a school fair! Lastly, saddle up for a pony ride! Companies offering pony rides typically take up little space and have knowledgeable attendants to help the kids.
As your guests walk around the fair, have some fun performers for them to run into! Strolling magicians can wow them with up-close-and-personal magic tricks, while goofy clowns can keep the crowd laughing. Balloon twisters can whip up creations in seconds for a fun souvenir. Take the entertainment to the next level with stilt walkers or jugglers (or a combination of both!). If there’s a cartoon character or other costumed character that all the kids love, they are great for photo ops, leading silly dances, and more.
🎉 You might also like: Back-to-School Fair Ideas Your Students Will Love
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Megan is the Director of Customer Experience at GigSalad and has gained 9+ years of insight on what makes a great event on both sides of the booking process. Her favorite things include books, true crime podcasts, coffee, hiking, puns, and making people laugh.