Add more to your summer fair
Add to the appeal and spectacle of your summer fair by
tying other events into it. Set up a stage and music acts for your
own mini-festival, invite visitors to camp on the field overnight,
round the event off with a grand auction, or encourage young chefs
with a bake-off competition.
Ask local allotment societies, garden centres and plant
nurseries for donations. Always position your plant stall somewhere
sheltered. If you have the resources, make up some planters as
higher-priced items. Herbs always do well, but make sure everything
Unlike a raffle, which relies on pot luck, a silent auction
allows people to bid only on the prizes they want. By stating the
value of each prize, your supporters can gauge how much they're
prepared to pay, which is sure to be more than £1 for a raffle
ticket! Seek out experiences or services as prizes in order to
tempt supporters and encourage bidding wars.
Invite visitors to bring along their (well-behaved!) pets and
run a competition with different categories and prize rosettes.
Alternatively, ask a local pet shop or shelter to bring some
animals along. Charge for the animal encounters.
Have different age categories so everyone can take part,
including adults. Participants register before the fair, paying to
enter - let players know their time slot. Hold matches in a
cordoned-off area. Allow time for the winners of each round to play
for a chance to be in the final, while still having time to enjoy
the rest of the fair.
Case study: Baking bonanza
'Last year we held a bake-off competition at our fair. We
promoted it through our Facebook page, and contestants brought
their creations to our "afternoon tea" marquee. As the cakes spent
a while on the judging table, some contestants created videos on
Facebook the day before to help with the judging in case the hot
weather affected their cakes.
The judging criteria was appearance, taste and how well the
cakes matched the fair's theme, "the great British summer". The
judges consisted of myself as chair, the deputy head and the fair's
compere. We offered trophies to the winners and runners-up in two
categories: adults and children. The competition was free to enter
but, as we sold the cakes afterwards, it was also a way of getting
free contributions for the afternoon tea marquee. We raised £3,517
across the whole of our summer fair.'
Tracy King, PFA Chair, Trinity CofE Methodist Primary
School, Chorley, Lancashire (520 pupils)
Case study: Pig Chase
'We created our 'Pig Chase' scarecrow trail three
years ago, inspired by the infamous Tamworth Two, a pair of pigs
that escaped from the local abattoir and made international
headlines. Each year we choose a different theme; last year it was
Piggywood. Each pig scarecrow was dressed up to represent the title
of a film and participants had to guess the title. We held a
competition to guess the most movies correctly and had a vote for
the best three pigs.
Six months before the event, we start contacting
individuals, families and companies that have previously built
scarecrows to see if they would be interested in joining in again.
We also offer three levels of sponsorship. Bronze costs £30 and the
sponsor gets their details in the trail map and signage next to the
pig on the day of the event. Silver costs £50 and means the company
also gets their logo on a stall, as well as in the trail map and
promotional information. Gold sponsorship (£100) gets the company
logo on all advertising and also on one of the bigger fair
In the past couple of years, we've focused on
advertising far and wide to attract visitors from miles around. We
do a flyer drop in the local villages and send out a newsletter
with raffle tickets. We advertise in the local press and place
banners on key sites around the village and in the local town. Our
efforts attract between 500 and 700 people a year.
We hold the trail on a Saturday afternoon in either
June or July. Participating families work their way around the
trail, filling in the map with the answers. Tea, coffee and cake
are available at the church, a villager provides a refreshment stop
in her garden and we hold our summer fair at the school at the same
In 2019, we raised £4,400 from the Pig Chase, raffle
and fair. This year's theme is going to be 'Olympig', based on the
Kellie Chandler, former PTA chair, Lea &
Garsdon CofE Primary School, Lea, Wiltshire (110
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