Plan a Spring Carnival

Whether it's at school, church or another organization, hosting a carnival is a fun, community building way to raise money. Sometimes carnivals are the biggest event of the year, and most of the time, many organizers work hard for months to make it a huge success.

It can be a big undertaking to plan an event complete with music, shows, food, activities, competitions and attractions. In addition to a high volume of student and faculty participation, a spring carnival can attract tons of local residents. Whether this is your organization's first carnival or an annual event, you need to ensure that all the pieces come together on carnival day.  After working with many event planners we have compiled a list of things to make planning a school carnival easier than ever.

1. Be organized! It is the single most important factor in planning a successful event that continues to grow each year. To save time and cut down on distracting delays, go electronic and be e-mail accessible. Give clear objectives and directions from the onset for fewer questions, less back-and-forth and less frustrated volunteers and vendors.

2. Assemble your team of coordinators and schedule your volunteers well in advance. Set a timeline and assign tasks.  For volunteer recruitment tips, click here.

3. Choose attractions that require minimal setup, that are easy to get involved in and not too complex in the planning. Know your audience. Although you should have something for everyone, high school carnivals may require different attention grabbing, mature activities than an elementary school event.

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4. Invite community organizations or campus groups to partake in your carnival events to diversify and enlarge the crowd. Possibly showcase another community group to provide additional entertainment or attractions.

5. Plan your booths or attractions with the following criteria in mind: your carnival's budget, both daytime and night time appearance, adherence to theme, game playability and appropriateness of prizes.

6. Advertise any upcoming school, church or community events or recent accomplishments in a prominent place during your carnival. 

7. Include creative attractions that allow the kids to create a memory and take something home with them. Whatever you choose to have them create, include your Church or School name and the date.

8. Plan something for all ages, including a wide variety of games with lots of different prizes, a silent auction, concession stands, and a small general store for selling your branded items.

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9. Test your carnival toys and games before selling. It can be frustrating to purchase items and find out during the carnival that they just did not work.

10. Advertise on the street and in areas people pass a lot to draw a crowd of passersby as well as having people plan to come out for the event.

11. Give back and announce in all your advertisements where your carnival proceeds will go. With all of the events that you do throughout the year, make it clear that the money is to put back into the community or school.