What to Ask Your School Carnival Vendors
We’ve helped Booster Club & PTO parents source a lot of games, inflatables and concessions rentals for school carnivals, field days and social parties since launching our one-stop shop party & event rental company, Reventals. Some of the same questions seem to pop up over and over with events that occur on school property. So we thought it would be helpful to put together a little guide to what to ask vendors as you are booking rentals for your school event. Once you’ve given this a quick once-over, download our School Carnival Planning Guide to keep on hand when planning your next event!
- Food & Beverage (Concessions): Here are the most popular concessions rentals. For school carnivals, we often see teams bring in a couple of food trucks and dessert vendors to handle the food. Make sure that your food truck vendors have the proper licensure for your county. Most are required to be inspected by the fire marshal and carry a certain level of insurance in order to receive their permit from the county health authority. Other times it’s more cost efficient for attendees if the booster club or PTO offers simple favorites like hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones for purchase. If your organization is selling food, remember to check with your local health authority to see if you’ll need a food permit and what the rules and regulations are for proper and safe food handling.
- Stage: These always require professional setup. Check out our guide to stage rentals for details on what size stage you’ll need and how much it will cost.
- Audio/Visual (A/V): Depending on the size and scale of your event, you may need a technician to go out before the event to determine exactly what you need. Often, a carnival or other school event needs a simple sound system or even a bullhorn for the emcee’s use and for making important announcements. Make sure to figure out where the electrical outlets are outside of the building if you are having an outdoor event! See some basic options for sound systems here.
- Inflatables/Rides: Keep in mind that you will need to rent generators if you don’t have electricity available within 50 feet of the ride location at your school carnival. Often, they cost extra and you may need more than one depending on the size. Some really large rides include the generator with the rental price, so just ask to be sure you are budgeting appropriately. Additionally, consider how you will secure rides and inflatables safely. Inflatables less than 20′ (feet) tall can be secured with sandbags. Over 20′ need to be staked into the ground, but check with your school or district facilities manager about whether or not irrigation lines will be at risk. If so, you’ll need to rent water barrels to secure them instead. If you choose to stake and cause damage to the irrigation system, the rental company will not be liable. More importantly, always check on your vendor’s insurance coverage to confirm that it fits with the guidelines of your school district. Some organizations require paid attendants at every ride to ensure proper liability coverage. The Booster Club could be held liable for injury or damage if these rules aren’t followed, so check on this before putting any deposits down!
- Tents: You can either stake a tent into the ground or secure it with water barrels like the inflatables mentioned above. Barrels aren’t too attractive on their own, so for a fancy or elegant event be sure to add water barrel covers. Use our handy calculator to figure out what size tent you need, and keep in mind that in Austin, any tent over 20′ x 20′ in size requires a permit. The important question to answer here is same as above with large rides and inflatables – are you allowed to stake the tent into the ground or will you possibly bust an irrigation line leaving the Booster Club with an expensive repair to pay for?
- Hand-washing Stations: Hand washing and sanitization stations are a must for outdoor school events in 2020 and beyond. Ask your vendor how these will get refilled over the course of the event if it is long or there are a lot of attendees. Some vendors will provide the appropriate amount of soap or sanitizer but a parent volunteer may need to replace/install the refills as needed throughout the event. If the hand washing station requires a hose, be sure it is close enough to the water access to make this possible, while also being close enough to the tent and food stations so attendees can wash before eating.
- Photo Booth: All sorts of photo booths are available these days, and we think a photo booth is a must-have at any event. Enclosed, open air, green screen, or event snow globe photo booths are available. For your school carnival, the most important thing to consider is whether you want a photo booth attendant or if a parent volunteer will attend. Definitely don’t leave it open for the kids to mess with on their own or you might have a damage issue by the end of the event!
Don’t forget to grab our checklist below so you have it on hand as you are planning your next event!