If Your School Doesn’t Have An Annual Carnival, Here Are 9 Reasons Why It Should

1. School Carnivals Are Incredibly Popular With Students and Parents Alike

Quick, which would you rather do- go to the school carnival or visit to the dentist? See? No contest. OK, maybe that’s not a fair fight, carnival vs. dentist, but the fact is, a school carnival is one of the absolute highlights of the year for any school that has one. It has all the best rolled up into one great package: people having fun, the school making money, and if it’s a really good carnival, there’s always food of some variety on a stick.

2. Carnivals require lots of people as volunteers, but the work is fun and not stressful.

Even though carnivals require a number of people willing to take charge of a wide range of responsibilities, the vast majority of jobs involve having fun and interacting with people. Whether it’s baking items to sell, running games, passing out prizes, decorating the carnival space, face painting, or even selling tickets, the atmosphere of a school carnival is light and enjoyable. These are exactly the kinds of jobs to break new volunteers in on. Once a person has mastered the art of the school carnival, he or she may be ready to take on more challenging volunteer duties within your fundraising team.

3. Carnival Expenses are Low

Since carnivals are held in the school building itself, there won’t be any facility rental fees the school will have to pay, which can often be one of the most expensive items in the budget. Also, food can be donated, and games can be used year after year. Many decorations can also be used more than one year. Of course, there will be a desire to add some new things each year, but the core of the activity can be relatively inexpensive to operate year in and year out.

4. Carnival Income is High

While expenses are kept low, the opportunities to generate revenue are high. Of course, you have the admission tickets, but there can also be charges for food, entertainment, games, and contests. All of these can be purchased with tickets or tokens, so that cash doesn’t have to be handled and potentially lost. Also, revenue can be made from renting out booths to local non-profits, so they can market themselves to the carnival attendees.

5. School Carnivals Become Instant Traditions and Reliable Income

In fundraising, you are always looking for something that will be a guaranteed success, year after year. It’s important to be able to count on a certain range of income. Therefore it is wise to develop activities that will become traditionally expected by your community. Carnivals are so popular, they become one of these traditions almost instantly. Imagine holding your first carnival one year, and then canceling it the next. That doesn’t seem very likely.

6. People are Familiar with the Concept of a School Carnival, so They Come Ready to Have a Good Time.

Even if your school hasn’t ever held a carnival before, most people have been to at least one sometime in their lives. Therefore, you’re not going to have to do a lot of explaining or convincing to get folks involved. This is one of the reasons why you could expect a very respectable turnout your very first year doing it. People are hesitant to try things that are unfamiliar to them. The good news is that most everybody not only knows what a school carnival is, but they also have good memories of it.

7. Carnivals Allow for Teachers and the Principal to Relax

Once you swing open the doors on the school carnival, a whole new feeling spreads over the school. Gone are the worries about tests and having a hallway passes. The joyous, euphoric, and electric atmosphere allows everyone, including teachers and the administrative staff to relax and enjoy the festivities. Having worked as a school principal, I always felt is was important to take every opportunity to have fun with the parents of my students, as well as my staff of teachers. It improved all our relationships and increased our ability to work together.

8. Carnivals Build Camaraderie with Both Kids and Adults.

Carnivals also have the ability to help parents get to know one another. I think that when parents of students get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere, friendships can be made. This is not only beneficial to them, but also to the school in that it seems to increase the number of volunteers we get for school activities. Even if you have a busy schedule, if your best friend is working the school carnival, you might also be inclined to do so, because it becomes a social opportunity.

9. Since So Many Schools Do Annual Carnivals, There is Abundant Information Available Regarding Carnival Themes, Games, Contests, Entertainment, Revenue Producers, etc.

With the exponential growth of the Internet, it is simple to find out extensive information on almost any subject- school carnivals, especially. A simple Google search will yield a wealth of knowledge. Also, it is wise to talk with families who are new to your district. Perhaps they have suggestions from their old school that worked. Trust me, if you put the word out there that you’re thinking of launching a school carnival, you’ll have people banging down your door with ideas.


Fundraising for any kind of a group is hard work. Often, the results are uncertain, but I can’t remember a time when I ever was ambivalent about how much money we were going to make. There’s always been an urgency to make as much as possible with every event or sale. With a carnival, you have just about the closest thing to a sure bet that you can find in this world of fundraising. As I mentioned in the introduction, a carnival mixes the best of everything, and everyone has a good time. In my estimation, that makes the idea of having a school carnival a real no-brainer.