Advice on How to Organise a Street Fair 2013

Note: this advice assumes your street fair will be held to raise funds for a charity and will be open to all, not restricted to just your street residents.

Feasibility

Stage 1 - Feasibility

  1. Pick your location - your entire street, several streets or just part of a street. Will the traffic be a problem or can the location be blocked off from traffic for a half a day or a day without inconvenience?
  2. Inform the local council of your plans - most councils have website pages giving advice about street parties.
    Fill in any relevant forms. You are likely to need a licence for the event and one to cover the sale of alcohol / playing music and permission to close the road. If the council doesn't automatically inform the police of your street fair then you will need to do so.
  3. Talk with your neighbours about the fair and ensure no-one is strongly against the idea.
  4. Pick an appropriate date e.g. a Saturday in the summer and check if there are any big local events planned for that day
    It's impossible to avoid all competing events in the summertime but avoid the biggest.
No problems - then it looks like you have a viable street fair.

Organising

Stage 2 - Organising

  1. Set-up a small group of residents who will be the key organisers for the street fair. This is not about who's in charge but about working together.
  2. Event indemnity insurance (you don't want to be sued if someone falls over). This is vital if you have bouncy castles or other potentially dangerous activities but otherwise you may not want to take insurance.
  3. Hold regular meetings with your organising group and invite any other interested residents to attend. Draw up a list of tasks to be completed, delegate the work and get on with it
  4. Roles
    1. You will need a trustworthy person to be treasurer.
    2. One or more people good at asking shops and businesses for raffle prizes and consumables e.g. coffee and coffee cups.
    3. Someone good at dealing with the council, health and safety etc.
  5. Work out an initial budget for the street fair costs
  6. Communications - keep as many relevant people as possible informed of your plans and progress.
  7. Publicity - get any you can
    1. Websites for local activities e.g. Mumsnet, Netmums, local council, www.britinfo.net
    2. Local newspapers
    3. Council noticeboards
    4. Word of mouth
    5. Posters and flyers etc.
  8. Equipment. You can probably borrow tables and chairs from the local scout group or church hall. You may need tents or pergolas to protect against rain or sunshine. It is likely that some of the residents will have bunting.
  9. Sponsorship. If you can find a sponsor for the fair then you may get some cash before the event (estate agents are a possibility and may pay you to take their sign boards with your advert added).
  10. Stalls and Activities
    You will want as many stalls and activities as possible to be run by the residents
    but also look on the Internet to find local people who run stalls regularly.
    1. Manned by residents and friends. All the money goes to the charity
    2. Manned by outsiders for profit. Charge either a flat rate for having a stall e.g. £20 or charge a percentage of profit e.g. 20%.
      Try stallfinder.com
  11. Helpers - residents, friends, scout group, army cadets etc.
  12. Printing. You will need to print posters and flyers/leaflets. Numerous Internet companies are very good for this e.g. stressfreeprint.co.uk.
    Maybe posters can be printed by residents in colour at home or at their place of work.
Demonstration

Stage 3 - Stalls/Demonstrations/Activities etc.

Demonstrations / Shows

You will need something to draw in the crowds e.g. a local celebrity, demonstration of martial arts, dance exhibition, a magician, local music group etc. These can be free or you can charge for attendance.

Participative Activities

Activities for the kids especially to join in – e.g. Zumba class, Stagecoach class, three legged race etc.

Kids Attractions

Magician, bouncy castle, children's play area, games, competitions etc.

Typical stalls and activities

Raffle, tombola, bouncy castle, face painting, second hand toys, brik-a-brak, books, DVDs, plants and flowers, shoulder massage, table tennis etc.

Refreshments

Tea, coffee, cakes, sweets, alcohol, barbecue, hot foods, cold drinks

Music

Always useful for creating a good atmosphere and means you will have a p.a. system for announcements etc.

Signs

Signs for the end of the roads to be blocked off.  No Smoking signs if relevant.  Directions to refreshments or toilets etc.

Conveniences

Provide rubbish and recycling bins but don't provide toilets unless the fair is a huge affair.

Safety

St. Johns Ambulance may help out or you may have residents with first aid training

How to Get Free Stuff for the fair. The top three rules are:-
  1. Ask
  2. Ask
  3. Ask
  • Ask coffee shops for free coffee and tea supplies
  • Ask book shops for free books
  • Ask newsagents for free soft drinks
  • Ask wine shops for free wine
  • Ask supermarkets for gift vouchers
  • etc.
Other Possibilities

Clowns or people in big silly costumes, stilt walkers, medieval re-enactors, a fire engine, military vehicles etc.

On the Day

Stage 4 - On the Day

  1. You will need one or more people who can be wardens – to keep their eyes open for any problems and deal with them efficiently.
  2. Allow plenty of time for set-up i.e. at least one hour, preferably two hours
  3. Block off the road in advance of the fair to give plenty of time for setting up stalls etc. Maybe two hours before the official start time.
  4. Enjoy the fair, take photos for newspapers and websites and make lots of money.
  5. In the event of bad weather
    1. If it very very hot then you will need pergolas or any means of shielding stall holders and visitors from the sunshine, especially around the food and drink areas.
    2. If it is very windy, that is difficult as pergolas will be more trouble than they are worth.
    3. If there is light rain – maybe you can continue with the fair but if it is heavy rain then you are better off cancelling unless you can switch to an indoor arena.
Tidy Up

Stage 5 - Tidy Up

  1. Return all borrowed equipment
  2. Tidy up the street back to the way it was before the fair
  3. Thank all of the residents and everyone who took part by email, letter or whatever means suits.
  4. Leftover cakes and other consumables – divide up among the residents and helpers
  5. Leftover bric-a-brac, books etc. – call the Salvation Army or other charity that is willing to collect
  6. Publicise the result of the fair – e.g. a photo of you handing over the money to the charity (local papers like this kind of thing)
And you're done. Phew !!!

Finished