People putting up tents at a summer fair

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.

Plant sale

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 is well-labelled. 

Silent auction

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.

Pet show

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.

Football tournament

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)



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