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Activities and Ideas

Amusement Rides are potentially the biggest attraction at your fete. You must have one person in charge of this area as it can make or break your fete. The important thing is to use rides to attract and then hold children and teenagers for as long as possible, bearing in mind that you should not have more rides than are necessary to achieve the maximum financial return. To get this result please take note of the following suggestions.

a) Get the right mix of rides for the event you are holding. For example, a primary school with 300-400 students would need either the Cyclone or a Super Slide with an inflatable such as the G.I Jane Eliminator or an inflatable castle and a couple of other rides such as a Chair O Plane and a Cup and Saucer.

b) Pre sell wristbands but only sell single ride tickets on the day. There are several reasons you pre sell wristbands. First, if the tickets are paid for in advance then the kids are usually given another lot of money to spend on the day. Secondly, it commits people to attend the fete, rain,hail or shine. Thirdly, If kids stay all day so do their parents who will spend more and are more likely to volunteer for a stall as they know the kids are less likely to hassle them. You should not sell wristbands on the day of the event as even if there is a price difference people will procrastinate and not commit as they know they can buy the ticket on the day if necessary.

A great option is to use an online booking system such as TryBooking. Try Booking offer a completely transparent online booking system which enables people to purchase their wristbands prior to the event. TryBooking is the first fully integrated online booking system specifically to meet the needs of community groups. They provide sophisticated technology yet keep it simple, accessible, and affordable for everyone. This easy to use systems takes the administration and cash handling responsibility away from the school or organiser of the event and enables patrons/ parents to purchase tickets 24 hours a day. For more infomation please contact Smart Amusements.

c) Use a company such as Smart Amusements who have long experience and can advise on the right mix of rides,and also advise if the rides can access and be fitted into the area you have in mind. Check also that companies are Leisurenet accredited, have public risk insurance and that their rides have been checked by an accredited engineer in the last 12 months. Also ask if all their leads are tagged and ask when staff last attended industry seminars. Remember some companies may seem cheap but that is because they cut corners. A reputable company such as Smart Amusements spend time and resources making sure your community has a safe, fun filled day.

d) Try and make sure the rides are close together,preferably with adjoining fences. This gives the fete a better atmosphere and allows leads to be run behind the rides so there are no safety issues. Also, if generators are required they should be kept at the rear of the rides.Only use silenced diesel generators from a reputable company such as Southern Generators. Always have ride ticket sales within 10 metres of the rides. If they are further away you will lose sales as some parents will use the distance as a reason for their children not to go on any further rides. The ideal location for rides would be a Basketball Court adjoining grass. This gives a stable, wet weather surface for large mechanical rides while allowing the inflatables to be pegged down to grass. Inflatables are safest when pegged down in a grassy area.

e) Pony, Camel and Donkey rides are great but you must remember that they need a grass area to walk on and they do need to be rested from time to time. Make sure the operator intends to clean up manure throughout the day as this can be tramped into other areas and become a health hazard. If you are also getting a mobile animal farm make sure the area is grassy and preferably in the shade.

f) Harley Rides should be placed by an access gate for safety purposed.

g)Fire Engine rides should also be placed at gate.

h)Horse and Cart rides should be by a gate if they are running on public roads.

i)Ghost House. Black out a classroom and add sounds, ghosts(older children dressed up) and your imagination to create a scary atmosphere.

2. Food and Drink

Several types of food and drink are necessary for a successful fete. It is important that at least some of it is high margin. Smart amusement have variety of food equipment. The most profitable foods are what we call fun foods. These include Fairy Floss, Snow Cones and Popcorn. We can also help if you need Deep Fryers, Donut Fryers,Hot Dog Steamers,Bain Maries and Pie Warmers. Food should preferably be set up as a food court with tents containing the food around the outside tables and chairs in the middle ( a marquee to sit under is great if you are organising a large event and a stage at one end to keep the customers eating and drinking.

The following items are all winners but remember you will need a co-ordinator for each stand to ensure proper levels of hygiene, stock levels, staff, refrigeration and adequate power or gas for each foodstand. Some fairs use outside contractors to supply food and drink but this should be avoided if possible as this is usually your biggest profit centre.

a) Fun Food Stand to include Floss, Snow Cones and Popcorn.

b) Soft Drinks. Ask Coca Cola to supply a free caravan.

c)Ice Cream. Ask Peters or Streets for free dispensing carts.

d)Hot Dogs. Steamers available from Smart Amusements.

e)Chips. Deep Fryers available from Smart Amusements.

f)Aussie Barbecue. Local service clubs such as Lions will often loan you large barbecues at no cost.

g)Greek Barbecue. Souvlaki or Beef on the spit are always popular. Some butchers supply a spit if you buy the meat from them. Try to get your local butcher to sponsor this stall.

h) Indian food such as curries and samosas are popular and can be kept in a Bain Marie from Smart Amusements.

i)Chinese ,Vietnamese,Sushi and Malaysian foods are popular. Look through your contact list for parents with these backgrounds.

j)Italian. Get your local pizza store to sponsor this. Pizza and pasta are very profitable.

k)Cake Stall. Have a cake baking competition for the kids.( We know their parents will help)then sell of all the cakes. Ask parents to bake one as well. You can also put home made toffees on this stand.

l)Sundowner. Sell tickets for an after fete barbecue with a band. Get a bootskooting or Rock and Roll club to come along and help organise the dancing. They can recruit members.

m)Coffee and Tea .Borrow an expresso machine from a coffee company and have italian cakes in additon to the traditional scones to increase you coffee sales. Have older children as waiters and entertainers for the tiny tots so that parents have an opportunity to sit , relax and have a couple of coffees. Don’t forget take away cups for the stall holders as they will definately want a couple.

n)Hot Potatoes. Ovens available from Smart Amusements.

o) Alcohol. Serving alcohol can be very profitable but can take away from the family atmosphere. If you do serve alcohol make sure you have the appropriate licences and only serve it in a designated area. Use responsible people in this area to ensure there is no under age drinking.

p) Fruit Juice and Smoothy Stand. This is a profitable and healthy alternative to carbonated drinks.

q)Chocolate Fountain. Dip fruits in a fountain of warm chocolate.


Smart Amusements have a large array of Carnival Games. These are listed followed by some you can make yourself at little or no cost.

a)Velcro Wheel. Kids try to hit the velcro target with a sticky ball.

b)Whacky Wire. Try to get the handle from one end to the other without ringing the bell.

c)High Strker. Try and ring the bell using the big hammer.

d)Kiddie Striker. Ring the bell using a small hammer.

e)Mini Golf. 9 holes of fun for all ages

f)Bear Darts. Safe suction dart game.

g)Spinning Wheels. Get local businesses to donate prizes.

h)Raffle Barrel. Raffle a barrow load of prizes.

i)Laughing Clowns Put the ball in the mouth of the clowns

j)Bucketing and Dunking machines. Wet the principal and raise funds for a good cause.

k)Wet Sponge Throw. A sponge in the face is a funny site.

l)Choco Kid . Whack the Mole. Highest score wins the day.

m)Milk Can Game. Throw the softball into the can.

n)Jaffa Cracker. Whack the Jaffa as it comes out of the spiral pipe.

0)Tic Tac Toe. Noughts and Crosses with balls

p)Cat Rack. Hit the fluffy cat with a bean bag.

q)Duck Pond. Pick a winning duck out of the pond.

r) Spin Art. Squirt paint on a spinning card to make pattern

In addition here are a few games you can make yourself.

r)Throw a rolling pin competiton

s)Throw a gum boot competition.

t)Hole in one competiton. Offer $5,000. You can get insurance against the unlikely chance of someone winning.

u)Rifle Shoot – make up some simple timber rifles to fire elastic bands. Place bright cards onto narrow bits of timber with groove for card. Stand these up “shooting gallery style” on a raised platform at rear of tent and children/adults have to knock over the cards from a marked line. Sell three elastic bands for $1.00. Prizes for three cards, two cards and single card knocked over.

v)Spinning barrels – handy parent makes up a set of three beer kegs with a steel pole through the middle (barrel is length-wise). Each keg must be able to spin very freely on the centre shaft and be close to the other barrels. Be careful that the gap between the barrels is sufficient so that public do not get any body part caught or pinched. Participants pay $1.00 to try to make it across the three barrels with out falling off or touching the gym mats underneath the barrels. Gym mats are for safety. Prize can be $10 or any other valued give-away.

w)Smash a Plate. Using tarped up cricket nets is good. Get families to donate old plates.

x)Coconut Shy. Use the other cricket net for this old fashioned fun fair activity when coconuts are in season.

y)Lob Coin on to blocks of Chocolate sitting on an old wire mattress frame.

z)Lucky Jars. Pick a number and it matches with a covered jar of goodies donated by parents.

aa)Slot Cars. You can hire a large set or use various kids sets all hooked together.

4. Stage and Front of Stage Activities

It is great to have a well known peronality as a stage commentator for at least part of the day. It helps bring in outsiders. For example at one recent fete I attended they roped in well known comedian Pete Rowsthorn as his child attended the school. Usually ,someone knows someone who can at least give half an hour of their time. Try not to pay for acts such as Humphrey as although they do attract kids it is usually only for a short time and does not flow through to the bottom line. Try to keep the acts flowing all day. But first a big warning. Do not let untalented ,loud teenage bands on your stage. I have seen them literally clear a fair in minutes. They tend to attract kids of like mind who do not spend money and scare away families. Mum will not sit drinking a coffee if she cannot talk to her friends and if the parents are not spending either are the kids.

Here are some suggestions of where you can find good acts for little or no charge.

a) Bands. Often a group of parents have a band. These bands are usually pretty good and they are not trying to prove they are the loudest in the land.

Many schools have bands or soloists. If you are a primary school also ask for a band from your local secondary school. It promotes good relations between schools.

The Victorian Police Band is excellent and free but you have to book early.

Karaoke competions can be great with the right MC.

b) Demonstrations. Often the groups you invite bring up to an extra 20 people to your fete so have them alternating with the music all day. It is also a great way for kids who attend these activities to show their schoolmates what they do. Here is a list of potential demonstrations.

Aerobics. Local Gyms often have competitive aerobics teams.

Basketball. See if you can get out the Melbourne Tigers. Get them to host a basketball shoot out for the kids.

Brass Bands. They are often looking for potential school age members.


Choirs and Accapella Groups.

Dancing. Try and get a couple of the local dance schools. Some areas even have Belly Dancing Clubs.

Dog Obedience Demonstration. Call your local dog obedience club.

Football. Try and get a couple of AFL players. Contact your nearest club.

Gymnastics. Contact your local Gymnastic club

Line Dancing Clubs. These older people are always looking for new recruits and they drink lots of coffee.

Martial Arts. Don’t just get one club. Get different ones throughout the day. Taekwondo and Karate clubs particularly have demonstration teams who break boards and do high kicks. The kids love it.

Marching Girls. There are still some around

Trampolining. These guys are spectacular if you have a competition trampoline at the school.

Animal Dress Up Competition.

Funniest Hat Competition

c)Auction Finish the day with an Auction of local goods and services. In exchange for a stall get local service companies such as car and dog washes, house cleaners etc. to donate prizes to the auction. Some will even donate these services on the day. Get your local Real Estate Agent to run the auction.

5. Off Stage Activities.

a)Local Fire Brigade. They wil often bring a fire truck but it must be near an acces gate in case of a fire.

b)Police. A pursuit car is a great attraction , in addition a police presence at your event can be very reassuring.

c)S.E.S I have seen these guys do a demonstration of jaws of life . It is great if you have the room and an old car.

d)Scouts. Get them to build a rope walk. The kids can then go accross it.

e)Local service companies. Ask them to come along and demonstrate in exchange for sponsorship.

f)Free Dental Check by Dental Clinic.

g)Chiropractic Checkups

h) Car Displays. Hot rod or Vintage Cars. Failing this your local car dealer.

i) Cancer Foundation for Skin Checks. You can sell sunscreen at this stall for those who forgot it.

j) Animal Display. Why not get your local Pet Shop to sponsor this and get a donation for entry.

j) Demonstrations of crafts such as paper making, wool spinning weaving and painting by local art schools and clubs.

k) Display by local History Museum.

l) Local Council stall showing their services.

m) Massage and Naturotherapy schools will often do demonstrations.

n)Have a parachute drop. Sell paper plates at $20.00 each, the plate closest to where the parachute lands wins $500 or $1000.

o)Finish a twilight fete with a fireworks display. This keeps people till the end of the fete. Make sure the contractor has adequate insurance and is properly trained.

p)Silent Auction. Have the items laid out with a bidding sheet for each item.

r)Paramedic Display. Get your local ambulance to set up a display and let them offer ambulance subscriptions.

6.Sales Stalls

a)Badge making (Available from Smart Amusements)

Fun Spinner. Squirt paint on to a spinning piece of card. ( Available from Smart Amusements)

b)Plaster cast done by local doctor. Charge for each cast. Keep in mind however that children cannot enter an inflatable ride with a hard plaster cast.

c)Showbags are always popular. Ask local businesses for small giveaways.You can also buy showbags from specialist companies.

d)Body Art .Have complete stall that does Hair Spraying,Temporary Tattoos, Face Painting and Nail Painting.

e)Helium balloons – (B.O.C Gases)

f) Invite local craft persons and artists to have a free site/space to promote their wares. They can pay you a percentage on what they sell. The current rate seems to be 20% of takings. This group could be encouraged to arrange their own advertising or pay for advertising space in a common advertisement in local newspapers. This should reduce your costs, increase the visual impact and further promote your event. These persons should have their own undercover area set aside and would provide you with a small plan of their layout for your planning. They can supply their own tables, trestles, etc.

g)Art exhibition of paintings, crafts etc sold on commission basis.

h)Parents would love to have their toddlers handprint or footprint made in clay. This can be fired and purchased by the family or the individual. Remember to have the name scratched into the clay as well as the name, age and personal details written onto a card. Memories are made of this….

i)White elephant stall. This can be one of the biggest profit centres of a fete. Remember to start collecting early. You can often store donations under the school or church building.

j)Second-hand books. Try and put the books in order and offer special prices for 10 or more to increase sales.

k)Second Hand Clothing. Borrow portable hangers from local traders. Hanging the clothes increases accessibility and therefore increases slaes.

l)Craft tent with pre-made plaster models to paint. Other activities can include mosaic making , Sand Art in a bottle and a fun spinner from Smart Amusements.

m)School Merchandise. Sell tea towels,Key rings glasses and cups with the school logo.

n) Plant Stall. Get keen gardeners to propagate plants which can be sold at the fete. Some schools get the kids to do this as a project.

o)Fruit and Vege Stall. Go to the wholesale market and ask for donations at the end of the day. Get up early on fete day to do this.

p)Glow Sticks. These are great where you are having a night fete and fireworks display.

If you have any ideas wish to share please call and we will bew happy to include them in this guide.


The ideas above are offered as a helpful guide only. Please accept them, modify them or reject them to suit your own purpose. Clients should not act solely on the basis of the material presented here and Smart Amusements does not accept responsibility for any ideas implemented for whatever reason. We wish you a popular, exciting and financially rewarding Fete.