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Summer fair main attractions

Having a headline attraction at your summer fair is a great way to pull in the punters. There's an array of weird and wonderful ideas out there, but here are a few of our favourites!

Circus

A circus makes a great attraction, whether you have acres of school field or not. Circus providers will come and inspect the space available and tell you what they can make possible. Ensure you sell tickets in advance - this will give you an idea of how much money you can expect to raise, and will cover your costs, even if rain on the day keeps people at home. For a whole host of circus providers, visit our Suppliers' Directory.

Climbing wall

Burn off energy and bring out the competitive side of your school cohort by hiring a mobile climbing wall. Climb Vertigo have four mobile rock climbing walls to choose from, plus they provide all safety equipment and a qualified instructor nationwide. A similar company, Vertical Xtreme, have four colour-coded, independent climbs, which allows four people to climb at the same time. Suitable for novices and experts alike, and for children as young as five, so there's something for everyone. They too provide all necessary safety equipment and tuition from trained experts. For a different side to climbing, why not hire highlineadventure.co.uk - who not only provide normal climbing walls, but also mobile ice climbing walls. The climber is geared up in a helmet with a full ice visor for protection and a pair of ice axes which are attached to the climber by wrist loops for safety. The climber ascends the wall using the ice axes in specially designed holes. The children will love to have a go on this, as it is just a little bit different!

NOTE: While climbing walls should be covered by your PTA insurance, it is classed as a hazardous activity, so you will need to complete a risk assessment for cover to apply. Contact your insurance provider for more information.

Inflatable outdoor fun

When hosting your main summer attraction outside, you want it to be bright, bold, beautiful, and most of all... fun! The inflatable items for hire at simplythebestevents.co.uk are certainly that. From human table football, to gladiator duals, to zorbing, there is something for every age. Simply The Best Events also provide package options where you can have a selection of attractions, making your event even bigger and better (and easier to organise and supervise). For example, one of their package deals includes a giant bouncy castle, an inflatable slide, a soft play area with ball pond, a bungee run, a funfair side stall with 50 prizes, three event crew to deliver, install and supervise, all power requirements, public liability insurance and health and safety documents, all for £1864. Bargain!  

Vintage carousel

Hiring a traditional horse carousel makes an excellent centrepiece for any school summer event. With the tinkling music resonating through the school grounds, it's the perfect backdrop for a beautiful, summer's day. We think it would fit beautifully into a 'traditional country fayre'; and why not continue the theme with other vintage stalls such as skittles and a coconut shy? Events With A Difference will 'travel miles for smiles'!

Falconry

A fantastic way to drum up the crowds is through a falconry event. The Falconry Centre brings a selection of hawks, falcons, owls, eagles or vultures to your event. These beautiful displays are not only entertaining but also informative. The cost for a day is £310 +VAT (plus travel expenses if they need to travel further than 50 miles - they are based in the West Midlands). The birds can perform two flying displays during the day. The Falconry Centre holds a current zoo license, which means they have full public liability insurance. All their birds are legally, captively bred and each professional falconer holds a performing animals license and animal transportation licences. If you need to hold your summer fair indoors, then they also do indoor displays, where let you get up close and personal with the birds!

It's a knockout!

Nicki Wisniewski ran a Knockout Challenge as the headline attraction at the school summer fair

'We try to ensure that our families enjoy fundraising in different ways. So when someone on the committee suggested giant inflatables, water and soap bubbles, we couldn't resist! We discovered the Knockout Challenge company (knockout-challenge.co.uk), an established company with trained staff, who offered an inflatable obstacle course for children.

We chose the bronze option at £2,580. This included a series of seven fun challenges, including a 'bubble pit' where children had to jump into a pit filled with bubbles and retrieve their team's coloured balls, and the 'slide of doom' where competitors had to negotiate a two-sided inflatable slide while collecting rubber rings. Our It's a Knockout challenge was born! The competition was open to children aged between five and 13 years.

Children formed teams and chose their name, outfit and mascot. We charged £16 for a family ticket (two adults, two children) and sold extra tickets at £6 (adults) and £4 (children). The children were encouraged to seek sponsorship too. Teams won points for their performance in the challenges, their outfits and for overall sportsmanship. The winning teams (we split the competition by age group) were awarded a trophy and individual medals. On the day we had a burger and sausage BBQ, soft drinks and Pimm's as well as tea, coffee and cake. There was a bouncy castle for younger siblings and craft stalls for parents. The event was popular and well attended. We had 40 teams and made £4,000 profit.

Due to the success of the event, we have now made it a regular fixture. The company provided us with their risk assessments to add to our own. St John's Ambulance and our own welfare officer were in attendance and the staff from the Knockout Challenge company were all first-aid trained. The day was a huge success - it's the kind of event that even the rain cannot spoil although when the sun shines, there is nothing better than hurtling down a huge inflatable slide towards a water canon!'

Nicki Wisniewski, chair, Hazelwood Parents' Association, Surrey (334 pupils)

Find suppliers of inflatables in our directory


NOTE: You must ensure that all third party suppliers have their own public liability insurance - ask for a copy of this prior to your event. Check your PTA insurance to see whether any other stipulations apply.

We're always eager to hear about other PTA successes, so please email your stories to editorial@pta.co.uk


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