Holding a fete is a major event, with the workload and stress peaking in the week prior to the event. Anything that can be done ahead of time is good in terms of managing stress and work demands.
Here is a list of fete stalls that can be prepped months ahead of time:
Whether you are asking your students/members to create their own masterpieces, creating collaborative pieces from each class or year group or seeking donations from local artists, art will store well in advance of your event. Prints can be made and framed and require little more effort in the lead-up to the big day.
Hire or purchase a badge-making machine, and pre-cut a range of funky fabric circles or printed designs for kids to colour. You can even advertise for people to design their badge in advance by specifying the dimensions required. On the day, all you need is space for kids to colour their creations and someone with a strong arm to man the machine.
Whether you are making a traditional craft stall, a themed stall (such as Christmas) or other types, craft is an excellent things to make months or even years ahead. Items you can make for a craft stall are listed below, or check out my Pinterest page for an ever changing selection of ideas.
Pencil cases, bags, tissue box covers, hot water bottle covers, shoe bags, cushions
Knitted or crocheted toys, tea cosies, hats and blankets
Door stops, draught stoppers
Bees wax wraps, food covers
Christmas decorations made from felt, beads, origami etc
Table runners, placemats, coasters
Cards and wrapping paper
Dress-ups, costumes, capes, wands
Dog bandanas, collars, toys, blankets
Dolls, dolls clothes, dollhouse furniture and accessories
Wooden toys and games
Scrunchies, headbands, clips, brooches, earrings, hair ties, jewellery
Baby clothes, bibs, nappy covers, toys, blankets
Framed art, fabric bunting, wooden letters, dream catchers
DIY side-show games
Many sideshow games such as the fishing game, ducks, chocolate toss, hoopla or ping pong toss can be assembled long before the event and prizes collected via donations or a quick trip to Kmart. Best of all, if you make them sturdy and strong, you can reuse them year after year. A quick check on Google will show you dozens of DIY games you can build well in advance of your event, or find some on the Fundraising Mums Pinterest page.
While most food stalls need to be prepared at the last minute, things like Christmas cakes and pudding and flavoured salt can be made well ahead of time. Find recipes online or ask for treasured family recipes from within your community.
Gift Cards and calendars
There are numerous sites which allow you to print pictures onto cards and calendars. This is easily done in advance – you can run a competition early in the year with the winners designs selected for the finished products.
Jams and preserves
Make batches of jams, preserves, chutneys and curd as fruit comes into season. As long as bottles are sterilised and the jars are stored correctly, these will keep for months in advance of your event.
Lucky dip bags can be made well ahead of time (as long as they don’t contain any unwrapped lollies).
Plants and succulents
Get cuttings from succulents and plants at least 6 months in advance of your event, spend a day or two potting them, and then with minimal effort, watch them grow and flower in advance of your event. They look extra cute when potted in tea cups and kettles, easily found at op-shops.
Raffle hampers are easy to prepare ahead of time, and even when containing food, they tend to be items with a long shelf life such as wine, crackers, nuts and chocolate. If you want to avoid anything with a best before date, there are plenty of themed hampers that you can make –check out my list of unusual ideas here.
If you are planning a Christmas Fete or event where you want festive items, buy them cheap in the post-Christmas sales and as long as you remember where everything is 11 months later, you will have Christmas raffle hampers ready to go.
Soaps and bath bombs
There is a wealth of amazing recipes online for making your own soaps and bath bombs, and they can be made well in advance. Some hand crafted soaps actually require weeks to cure and harden, so they are a good product to get started on early in the year. When it comes to making soaps, there are so many options – you can add colour, scent, dried flowers, herbs and more.
Check out this article for a sample of different soaps and methods you can make at home.
Tea-towels and Bags
For big community events, tea-towels and re-usable shopping bags are a great way to build community spirit with clever designs incorporating local street and suburb names. You can also use student artwork or other designs. Read more here.
Temporary tattoos can be ordered cheaply online in advance of your event. Cut the sheets into individual pieces (while sitting in front of the TV), bag each design separately, and pin an example of each to a board. On the day, all you need to do is get some small bowls of water, sponges, some stools and a bin for the leftover bits of paper.
A tombola is a jar raffle, where you draw a ticket which is then matched to a jar with a prize in it. You can have wine tombolas or food tombolas, but most popular with kids with jars that are filled with small toys, craft items, stationery and other items.
These can be made months ahead, and as long as they are stored carefully all you need to do on the day is display them on the table, stick a raffle ticket to each and you are ready to go.
Pre-loved books can be collected well in advance of your event. Sort as you go into your pre-determined categories (ie babies/toddlers, picture books, chapter books, young adult, fiction, non-fiction, recipe etc), seal the boxes and store carefully. Then all you need to do is unpack the boxes and place them directly into the various section.
When calling for donations to your secondhand stall, it is inevitable you will receive plenty of stuffed animals. While many parents may wish they didn’t, kids loved stuffed animals, so why not embrace it and create a Zoo Raffle, which runs like a tombola (see above) but when kids draw out their raffle ticket, it corresponds to a specific toy that they win. Keep the prices very low ($1-$2 per ticket) and see how popular it is with kids.
What other make-ahead stall ideas have you tried?