With support from your community, your festival planning committee, and local businesses and schools, your church Fall Festival could become the biggest event of the year and help bring a ton of enthusiasm to what your church is doing in your community. With advanced planning and a little creativity, your Fall Festival can be a safe, fun, family activity that can blossom from a simple outreach event to a local community tradition. Embrace the prep time and be willing to think outside the box for seasonal Fall Festival fun. Here are a few questions to get you started and help you be a great steward of your time, energy and resources.
1. What are your goals and objectives for this festival?
Is this event JUST for your church people? Are you wanting this to be all about fun and bringing new families to your campus? Are you planning a kid-friendly fundraiser, or a free fun-filled family event? If you are having games, will you charge for each game, or will there be an all-inclusive price? Create a budget and stick to it. As you plan your event, involve your church leaders and key volunteers in the decision-making and brainstorming process. By asking the leaders for feedback, ideas, and suggestions from the start, you’re encouraging them to offer their input throughout the planning of the event. They may have great business connections to help with sponsorship for the event. Additionally, by encouraging local business sponsorships, you help to strengthen your connection with and to the community.
2. Should you use a theme?
Be creative. Your theme can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Remember, you want it to be exciting for kids, but you also want to get the rest of the family to want to be a part of it. Whatever theme you choose, you can build your decorations and games around that theme. Before planning games for your Fall Festival, decide how large an event you want it to be, what age group you are planning it for and whether or not you want to have costumes at the festival. What sort of entertainment can you have that will fit within your theme? You can include fast and easy, tried and true festival booths and games, but also include new, unique activities too.
3. Will you have scheduled entertainment?
For churches, this can be a great excuse to invite people inside your church. It also gives families a break to sit down together and a break from the weather. When looking for christian entertainers, we encourage you to do your research. You want someone who is a professional. This is not the time to go cheap and just use a local person from down the street. You need to put your best foot forward for your community. Christian illusionist team, David & Kylie Knight bring quality and fun. Learn more about them here and be sure to sign up to get their FREE book – 5 Golden Keys to Choosing Your Next Christian Entertainer.
4. When and where will you hold your festival?
Begin planning well in advance. Committees need plenty of time to brainstorm, gather materials, recruit volunteers, and make community connections. Additionally, you want to make sure if you are having entertainers that you can get the team that you want. High attendance can mean a lot of people traffic. Make sure your location is big enough and spread out activities, ticket sales and food as much as possible. If you make outdoor plans, make sure you have a Plan B location.
5. How will you manage the event?
Anyone who has planned an event knows how many details are involved. An awesome festival really just boils down to project management. Have a core group of about four leaders who will be in charge of different elements (food, advertising, donations & entertainment). Choose master planners that have strong social, organizational and leadership skills. From there, create a committee and sub-committees depending on the size of the event, the number of tasks and people attending. Include as many families as you can in the upfront planning and you will have better success and more people to help during the event.
6. Can you recruit enough volunteers?
Parents, teachers, friends and family. The size of your event should be determined by your pool of volunteers. Another option is to recruit teen volunteers from nearby middle and high schools who need service hours for graduation. Recruitment becomes easier as your event becomes a tradition. Jump start your event planning with an easy online tool. You can use SignUpGenius.com to create a free festival volunteer sign up sheet, and include categories such as activities, entertainment, set up and clean up.
7. Should you buy carnival games from a supplier, or should you ask volunteers to create each booth and game?
Brainstorm, create, and build the games for the event. There are many online resources to purchase supplies, games and prizes, if you want to create your games from scratch. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, your creativity and resources are only limited by your planning time.
8. Should you also consider raising money for other causes at your festival?
Festivals draw large crowds and there may be an opportunity to include a fundraiser for other school events or even local charities. It can be a great way to gather up support for your favorite causes. If you are hiring entertainment, they may have a pet charity that you can encourage donations to. For example, David & Kylie Knight support Uganda Shoe Trees and it is a wonderful organization that could use your community’s help.
9. What type of food will you be serving or selling?
Food can often be overlooked or planned at the last minute, but this is a great way to wow everyone with tasty snacks and treats. Traditional festival foods include popcorn and pretzels, cotton candy, shaved ice, caramel corn, and candy apples. Hot drinks such as hot apple cider, and hot chocolate are excellent choices for this time of year. You could even contact popular Food Trucks in your area. Invite them to have their truck parked in your parking lot for your guests to enjoy.
10. How will you market and advertise the festival through your local schools and community?
Draw a record crowd with media attention and publicity ahead of time. Lots of advertising is key. Send flyers to local elementary schools three to four weeks ahead of time. If the budget permits, and place ads in the local newspaper. Reach out to your local TV and radio stations. They are always looking for stories about great things going on the community. Your event could be one of those. And don’t forget to create an event on Facebook and encourage everyone to share it. Feature the unique games, entertainment, food, booths or activities planned for the day. Include promotions throughout the school, newsletters and on the school marquee. Create a buzz! With a little hard work and creativity, you can plan a Fall Festival that everyone will be talking about!
Sheik Ally, Fall Festival Outreach Event, Calvary Orlando, FL:
“We just had David and Kylie Knight here for our Fall Festival and they were the main attraction for the whole event. David and Kylie did such a great job engaging and bringing a lot of fun, magic, and illusion, and an amazing atmosphere that our families enjoyed. They were excited to be part of such an awesome large scale illusion show which most people never get a chance to see in person. It has given us the opportunity to get to know families that don’t come to our church and build a relationship with them. We are so excited for the future of the church thanks to what David and brought to our event. They were definitely awesome, and I would have them again for any event that we do.”
Thanks Dan Rutledge and SignUpGenius