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Summer fair checklist

Is there anything more satisfying than crossing items off a to-do list? We've created a checklist to help your summer fair run smoothly.

Before the event...

  • Make sure your lottery licence is up to date if selling raffle tickets prior to the event itself. Secure prizes as far in advance as possible.
  • Start publicising the event at least six weeks in advance. Place posters in libraries, doctors' surgeries, leisure centres, etc. Send a media release to local newspapers and radio stations. If using street banners to advertise your event, seek permission from your local authority. Contact them early to establish any criteria, i.e. you will need proof of your public liability insurance. If getting a new sign made, use 'This Saturday' rather than a specific date - that way you can use it again next year (most councils will only let you put your sign up for one week anyway).
  • Charity Print Shop produce editable posters and flyers at extremely low prices... 10 A3 posters for under £10! Visit the shop online to see their summer fair designs.
  • Refreshments are guaranteed to make a profit. If selling alcohol, you will need to complete a TEN at least 10 working days before the event. 
  • If inviting your local ice-cream van along to the event, charge a pitch price for them to be on-site, as opposed to a percentage of takings. Check that they have their own public liability insurance.
  • Find an MC/announcer and appoint a few 'runners' who can provide details and updates about particular attractions throughout the event. Give them a schedule - of performances, the raffle draw, etc. Provide them with identification badges so people at the fair can go to them if they need help.
  • Create a ground plan, outlining where each activity will go, bearing in mind the need for power/proximity to water, etc.
  • If providing a programme, sell advertising slots to local businesses. 
Use this to publicise event timings and to give particular thanks to key supporters.
  • Do a leaflet-drop to residents in the area just prior to the event. Offer them free entrance into your event and, if appropriate, give them contact details 
for booking any specific attractions. If producing a programme, consider distributing this to residents prior to your event.
  • Finalise your volunteer list and rotas. Distribute a spreadsheet listing each stall, with time slots, outlining who is signed up to help out where and when. Identify gaps and initiate a final recruitment drive.
  • Ask volunteers to check whether their employers offer match funding as this can really help boost your profits.
  • Consider first aid requirements by conducting a 'needs assessment'. If your event is quite large, you may need to enlist the help of a local ambulance service.
  • Risk assessments will need to be carried out for each element of your fair, as well as for the overall event itself. Ask individual stallholders to complete these, using guidance from the Health & Safety Executive.
  • Have a wet weather contingency plan in place and if any changes need to be implemented based on a poor forecast, allow enough time to let everyone know.
  • Make signs for the basics - toilets, first aid, refreshments - as well as for each stall.
  • Based on previous experience, put together running notes for each stall, with details of costs per go, rules, instructions and advice. Laminate these and stick them on each stall - they'll reassure any new volunteers!
  • Finally, work out how much float each stall requires and order this from the bank.

On the day...

  • Prepare a box containing essentials such as marker pens, sticky tape, scissors, string, drawing pins and paper, as well as specific items, such as a mallet for hammering in gazebo pegs!
  • Have a list of jobs ready for volunteers who turn up to help set up, so that they can be put to good use as soon as they arrive.
  • Once your event opens, keep checking that stallholders have everything they need - that stalls are well-staffed and well-stocked - and offer to take refreshments to them if they have no chance of a break.
  • Safe collection and storage of cash during your event is essential. Appoint at least two people to be responsible for floats, collection and counting of cash and safe storage during the event. Have a book listing each stall, with details of the float they started with. Each time cash is collected, a note should be made.
  • Food hygiene is key, so if using charcoal BBQs, make sure these are lit in advance, ensuring that coals have reached maximum temperature before cooking begins. Read our guide to catering at events.
  • Remember that clearing up is the event organisers' responsibility, so have plenty of bin bags at the ready!

After the event...

  • Thank all your volunteers and write to the businesses who gave donations or supported your event - let them know how much was raised and what you plan to use the money for.
  • Ask stallholders and external contractors to complete a feedback form, so you will know if anything needs to be changed for next year. You can download our 'Knowledge Capsule' template.

Download the summer fair checklist and take it to your summer fair planning meeting.


Have we forgotten anything? Email the Let's Get Fundraising team if you think there's more to add!

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