Planning School Carnival



When your To Do List says "planning school carnival" you want to make sure everything goes smoothly. Good school carnival planning will result in a successful event.

For more information on school carnival planning, please consult our: School Carnival Guide


Planning School Carnival - 10 Steps


1) Develop committees

Here are the types of committees often needed to run a successful school carnival fundraiser:

Coordinating This committee should have no more than six members, and is responsible for overseeing all of the major decisions regarding the carnival. Typically, it takes at least four to six weeks, at the minimum, in planning school carnival for success.

Advertising/PR This committee is responsible for all notices sent home about the carnival, all posters placed around the community, news releases and public service announcements on radio and cable TV.

Volunteers This committee is considered one of the most challenging. The volunteers must be recruited, assigned, confirmed, and then trained.

Food & Beverage The committee responsible for deciding on a menu and pricing, cooking and serving.

Facilities This committee handles parking, security, lost & found, tables, chairs, electrical issues, permits & licenses, design layout, audio visual equipment, restrooms, clean-up, and more…

Games/Activities This committee is responsible for all game-related issues, and scheduling and running activities.

Sponsorship This committee is in charge of recruiting sponsors for the carnival.

Ticket Sales ypically chaired by the Treasurer, this committee is responsible for all ticket sales.

Program/Entertainment This committee is responsible for recruiting talent and entertainment for the school carnival. This may include talent contests, karate or gymnastics demonstrations, costumed characters, clowns, balloon artists, magicians, face painters, hair braiders, etc.

Vendors Some school carnivals include outside vendors, such as arts and craftspeople. This committee is responsible for all the headaches associated with dealing with outside vendors.


2) Decide on a theme and a goal

Many committees choose a different theme for their carnival each year. Some of the most popular have included Country/Western, Environmental Awareness, Space & Aliens, 50’s, 60’s, and Hawaiian. The Goal of the event must also be decided upon, and should be realistic and attainable.

3) Choose an appropriate date

It is important to compare possible dates with your communities’ social calendar, so as not to interfere with any major fairs, festivals, or big events being held on the same date. A quick call to other schools in the area will make sure you’re not having competing events at the same time (I’ve seen it happen more than once!). Also, the last two weekends in October and the first weekend in May seems to be the most popular dates.

4) Choose a carnival game vendor and food vendor(s)

The equipment available, and the packages offered, will often help select a carnival game vendor. Experience does count, so be sure to choose a vendor that has been in business for at least five years. There’s nothing worse than not having your game vendor show up on the day of the event. Some schools will do all the food themselves, others will bring in an outside vendor (such as pizza).


5) Develop a time-line and checklist

A time line helps to make sure your carnival runs smoothly. A checklist will insure nothing is forgotten.

6) Develop and implement solicitation strategies

Sponsorship programs and early ticket discounts must be decided upon and implemented.

7) Recruit volunteers

A good rule of thumb is recruiting double the number of volunteers you think you need to run the event. A typical no- show rate for school carnivals is between twenty and twenty-five percent. It is important to confirm volunteers the day before the event.

8) Enjoy the school carnival!

You've worked hard, now it's time to enjoy the event.

9) Evaluate Results

It is important to take notes immediately after the school carnival, as to what went well and what could be improved for next year.


10) Follow-up and thank the volunteers, donors, and the sponsors.

I’ve seen many instances where this step is skipped or overlooked, and it makes it harder to recruit volunteers or sponsors the next year. People want to be appreciated and thanked for their time or donation.




For more information on school carnivals, please consult our: School Carnival Guide

Here’s info on School Carnival Money Making Tips


Good Luck in Planning School Carnival!