How to plan a fun fair event

rack of candyfloss image by Christopher Martin from

Fun fair events can be used as fundraisers for schools, to raise awareness for charities, to promote products for companies or simply to provide fun for neighbourhood children at a birthday party.

Whatever the purpose of the event, to achieve your intended outcome you will need to plan and organise well from the beginning. If you have the financial resources, you can hire a party event coordinator and let her manage the event based on your input. However, when funds are limited, your own creativity can make this an exciting venture.

Determine your budget for the fun fair party event and gather your resources. Schools should get parents involved. Parents should get other parents in the neighbourhood involved. Businesses should encourage employees to volunteer their time.

Find a venue for the event if you don't have enough space in your backyard. Possible locations can include a school football field, office building car park or a rented venue.

Choose an event-planning or party-rental company that can organise rides, games and food. Get recommendations from others who have had similar events.

Make a list of features that will be a part of your fair. Everything featured at your fair should be closely associated with your theme and appropriate for the intended audience. Consider the costs, income potential and safety concerns.

Choose games that are age-appropriate. For kindergarten age children, make the games simple enough so that they can win, but challenging enough to make it fun. Games in which you shoot ducks may not be as appropriate for children as games with clowns.

Award prizes to everyone who attends the event. Offer bigger prizes for those who win games, but offer smaller trinkets to everyone who attends so that no one leaves empty-handed. Load up on toys, video games and stuffed animals from the local toy store.

Decide on a food menu. Ask your event planner if she can find a source for candied apples, ice cream, etc. On a budget, appoint someone to grill hot dogs, hamburgers and other grill favourites. Rent a candyfloss machine to swirl up some candyfloss. Ask for volunteers to bake up some delicious treats, such as strawberry shortcake or elephant ears to spread out on a concession table.

Choose the entertainers. Hire a local clown troupe, if it's within your budget. Ask your committee of volunteers about their special talents and willingness to participate. Face painters, jugglers, mimes, and fortune tellers are always entertaining at a fair. Even if there aren't any experts, ask volunteers to pretend.

Decide what rides will be featured. Consider renting carousels, fun houses or bubble fortresses, depending on your budget. You can also create your own booths and haunted houses, depending on the construction expertise of your volunteers.

Create attractions at the event for parents, or others who may have been dragged along to the fun fair but really have no interest. In the book, "The Event Manager's Bible," Des Conway calls this "diversionary attractions" that can also be used to increase the revenue potential of the fun fair event. (Reference 1, pg 74).

Plan for medical emergencies. Buy first aid kits and place them around in various areas of the fair so that they are easily accessible in case someone has an allergic reaction to peanuts or something they have eaten, or if someone falls and hurts himself while running and playing.

Plan for security issues. If children are involved, don't be cheap on security. Hire an off-duty police officer to provide security or work with a private security firm.

Purchase liability insurance for additional security. If you have hired third-party providers, require them to have their own insurance before they can bring in their rides or their food trucks.

Determine how you're going to get the word out. Announce your event in community newspapers. Buy radio ad space. Send out e-mails to everyone in your contact list and tell them to pass your invite on to people they know.