Run a successful family barbecue
A family barbeque at the end of the school year, or at
the start of the new year brings the entire school community
together to meet, mingle and have fun.
Focus on bringing families (and teachers) at the school together
to enjoy an afternoon or evening of fun. While fundraising might be
your main focus throughout the year, creating social opportunities
for parents and experiences for pupils is just as important. By not
charging for entry and without the need for babysitters, a family
barbeque may encourage less confident or hard-to-reach parents to
come along. Take into account that rain can come any day of the
year, so wet weather plans are crucial!
Even if the primary purpose of your event isn't to fundraise,
you don't want it to cost you money. Although you might not be
charging an entry fee to your barbecue event, try to cover your
costs through other means. Work out how much your costs will be,
and use this as a gauge to price up the food and offer additional
money-generating activites. If you have space, set aside some
stalls for the children to get involved in whilst their parents
enjoy the barbecue. Face painting, craft activities, pick a lolly
game, cupcake decorating… what will generate that bit of extra cash
to cover your costs?
Don't underestimate the power of a good burger. Good quality
meat for the barbecue is vital! If people end up picking bits of
gristle out of their teeth, they are unlikely to rock up to the
barbecue next time you have one at your event. Local catering
companies may offer frozen meat on a sale or return basis. Offer
fried onions - you can't beat the smell to get people salivating!
Consider a vegetarian alternative such as vegetable samosas. Use
large oil-drum BBQs and have several people cooking and
serving/taking money to avoid tedious queues.
Serve burgers and hot dogs in napkins to keep down costs. Other
food, such as jacket potatoes and salads will require plates and
cutlery (and possibly somewhere to sit). Have plenty of sauces
available and lots of bins nearby for rubbish!
Get everyone up and active (to work off those burgers) by
offering games of rounders, or a competitive five-a-side match.
Adults and children will both enjoy playing team games together,
although adults may need a reminder of the rules for rounders,
having not played for, ahem, a few years! You can have mixed teams
of all ages and abilities so that no one gets left out, but beware:
adults tend to get competitive!
Unsure on how your evening will pan out? Read these
three case studies from PTAs via our Facebook page:
Becky Hession: 'We have our family BBQ
each year and it has become a really fun event for all our
families. We run it from 5pm til 11pm. I would suggest a bar
(always a winner!), and children's non-alcoholic cocktails! We have
a disco outside and Irish dancing displays, a raffle, a stall for
children selling glow sticks, bubbles, bags of sweets and glow
bracelets. Children love it when it gets dark. We hired a candy
floss lady last year who also did popcorn which was popular. The
dads man the actual BBQ cooking. You need lots of helpers to sell
tickets, work the bar; stall etc that's what can be tricky needs a
rota done early. Good fun, with lots of planning!'
Myra Smith: 'We do some games through the
event, including sticks in sand; guess sweets in jar plant a
sunflower seed etc. Bouncy castle and face painting is popular too.
We let children or classes do a mini show starting half way through
keeps parents longer! Have a back up plan incase of rain. Good
advice is to get the BBQ fired up early as our very popular, we get
our burgers and sausages at discount price from a popular butcher
Jane Campbell: 'We do ours on a Friday in
June 5.30-8.30 as folk get busy at weekends when the weather's
nice. We buy the meat from the local butcher and he lends us his
BBQ. We have a rota of dads on the BBQ, and make sure they wear
food-handling gloves. We have a bar with draught ale on a hand pump
(this needs to be brought up a few days earlier to settle). We have
a couple of stalls or a treasure hunt to keep the kids happy. We
also put skipping ropes, balls, etc, out on the playing field. We
do a colour-themed hamper raffle (donations from the children),
which we draw at the end. It's good to have something to signify
that the event has in fact ended and it's time to go!'
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