Summer village fetes are part and parcel of British life. They take us back to a time when life seemed less hectic and everything has that rosy glow of nostalgia.
They offer an afternoon of fun and help build a sense of community, whether they are held on a school playing field, the village green or local countryside.
Fetes have always been an entertaining mixture of activities. Each and every fete is different but it might incorporate traditions such as a maypole dance or harvest celebrations.
It might showcase local choirs or marching bands. It might host inter-village competitions like tug-o-war or cricket. And it will definitely have some fantastic games from splat-the-rat to the tombola.
But what kind of fete would it be without being able a wander round some delightfully (or eccentrically) stocked stalls?
What Stalls Do You Have at a Fete?
We have to remember that fetes have the dual purpose of bringing a community together for some family fun as well as raising much needed funds for a local charity or need. Having entertainments at your fete are important, but it’s the stalls that raise the cash.
The best way to make sure your fete makes money is to cater to your crowd. If your fete is raising funds for the local school then lots of kid-related stalls are going to be essential.
If the fete is on the village green or common, a good mix of stalls to suit both children and those over 18 will bring in those funds super quickly.
We’ve got a mix of traditional and new ideas to make your stalls the highlight of your summer fete.
Summer fete stall ideas
1. Cake Stall
Let’s kick off with the most popular stall of all. If you haven’t got a cake stall, can you even call it a fete? Just thinking of those delicious butterfly buns, Victoria sandwiches, cherry Bakewell’s and fruit loaves makes our mouths water.
Make your cakes stand out with these decorative nozzle sets:
2. Biscuit Decorating Stall
While this may not have been a staple of the fetes from our childhood, it sounds like a jolly good idea. Kids will love to decorate their own biscuits and now that you can buy icing in tubes with fine nozzles, it doesn’t have to be as messy as you might imagine.
So get the icing at the ready, biscuits to hand and get piping.
3. Homemade Produce Stand
Most village fetes will have a local Women’s Institute group who will be all too willing to fill the produce stand with delicious homemade jams and chutneys and maybe the best hedgerow tipple for those over 18. If the WI can’t help, rustle-up some friends and family with allotments and get them pickling pronto.
Store them in these beautiful, rustic themed jars:
4. Bottle Stall
This stall can be tailored to your crowd. If your fete is for a local school then you can load the stall with cans and bottles of pop.
If your fete is on the village green, you can mix it up for the over 18s with alcoholic beverages.
Each bottle has a raffle ticket attached to the lid and customers pick a corresponding raffle ticket out of a hat. If their number matches a bottle, they get a lovely prize.
5. A White Elephant Stall
This stall is not to be confused with bric-a-brac (that comes next). The white elephant stall has a particular purpose.
The term white elephant refers to an item that is generally something that is of good quality but one that its current owner is unwilling to give house room to.
The idea is that someone else will love it. It stems from the proverb: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
It’s the opportunity to give away the unwanted ‘heirloom’ or wedding gift in the hope that it will valued by a new owner.
6. Bric-a-Brac Stand
Often confused with a White Elephant stall, the bric-a-brac stand is actually the one for low-cost items that are still useable. The novelty mug that you received as a ‘secret Santa’ gift last Christmas is the perfect item to donate to this stall.
7. Toy Stall
The toy stall is another one that delights the children. Have a collection of good quality used toys from your neighbourhood or school, give them a wash and you’ll find new homes for play things that other children have grown out of.
8. Plant Stall
The plant stall is another stand that has been around for as long as fetes themselves but it’s popularity never wanes.
Especially since the resurgence of home-grown fruit and vegetables since the pandemic when we all re-discovered our green fingers. It’s a popular one for those interested in sustainability and those who are already keen gardeners and who love a bargain.
9. Tea and Coffee Stand
You’ll generally find this stand in a tent if you’re having a larger fete. Whether inside or out, however, this stand is a must to refresh your visitors.
An urn and large brown tea pots aren’t essential but having a constant supply of hot water is. This is a great option that is cost effective to store your coffee in:
You can even style this up if you have a high-brow crowd and have a boutique coffee stall with lattes and frappuccino if you think it will go down well.
10. A Bar
Probably the biggest money spinner for your summer fete will be the bar. Pints of beer by local or not so local breweries is another must for any self-respecting village fete.
It’s a British tradition and we’re sure you won’t need convincing to include this stall. If you are concerned about conscious drinking, you could always make room for non-alcoholic options.
11. Gin or Pimm’s Bar Stand
This is another stall to think about if your summer fete is going to attract a swanky crowd. You could ask a local mobile gin bar to attend your fete if you think it’ll strike the right mood.
Or you can create your own version with pre-prepared jugs of the good stuff.
Always make more than you think you’ll need for this stand especially if it’s hot. Who doesn’t like a delicious Pimm’s on a lovely summer’s day? A cocktail or mocktail stand might be equally fun.
12. Hot Food Stalls
Burgers, Hot Dogs and the good old bacon butty are another great money-spinner for a summer fete, especially if you have a bar. You can offer local meat to make it is a true celebration of your area. And don’t forget veggie and vegan options – they’ll need a separate grill.
13. Seasonal Food Stalls
Stand-alone stalls for food are also an option. Seasonal food is always popular so you can have a cherry stall in June, a corn-on-the-cob station in August and toffee apples later in September.
14. Face Painting Stall
Another stall that is an absolute must for any type of fete but especially if it is being held by a school is face painting.
This stall has become a modern tradition and it seems as though there should always have been children running around the green with the painted faces of pirates, tigers or butterflies. The odd tipsy adult sometimes joins in fun too.
15. Badge making, Slime making Stall or Hair Spray Station
If you know your fete is going to have children in abundance, stalls that incorporate an activity will be popular with both children and their parents.
- Badges: If you have someone with a badge-making machine or willing to donate one, this goes down very well. They can be bought relatively cheaply now, too, so might be worth the investment if your fete is an annual event. Children can design their own badges with felt tips or crayons and then wear their creation with pride all day.
- Slime Making: This might be news to adults without children but slime is very big with the little ones. It can be easily made with household ingredients and kids will love playing with their goop long after the fete has ended.
- Hair Spray Station: This goes down particularly well at school fetes where dress-codes are normally quite tight. Funky-coloured hair is an allowed rule-breaker for the day of the event and kids will feel super-cool with their temporary neon locks.
16. Second-hand Clothes Sale
Pre-loved fashion is the current term for second-hand clothes. Whatever it’s called though, repurposing old clothes is certainly a sustainable trend that never goes out of fashion.
17. Craft Stalls
If you have local artisans or crafts people, rope then into selling their wares at your summer fete. People are increasingly conscious of the carbon footprint of the goods they buy so love buying gifts or items from local producers.
If your fete is popular you can charge a small ‘pitch fee’ and you get to show-case local talent.
16. Candy Floss
Popular with kids and adults alike, the candy-floss machine has a magic appeal. Sugar never looks as pretty until it’s spun into fairy-like strands.
Something like this this affordable candy floss machine is a great option for your stall:
18. Fortune telling
Possibly not one to have a church fete, although some inter-religious collaboration isn’t off the cards in aid of a good cause. Who doesn’t get a thrill at the words: ‘Cross my palm with silver’?
The fortune teller is usually housed in a tent but in the current climate and to protect everyone’s safety, it might be better to make the tent more of a canopy. As long as there’s a crystal ball and some jingling jewellery no one will mind.
19. Book Stall
The books stall may attract a more adult crowd in the days of digital reading devices but it is still a big hit at any summer fete. People still love a good page-turner and the sales of ‘real’ books remains strong.
Gather as many good quality second-hand books as you can and you’ll see that they attract customers like bees to a honey pot.
20. Farmer’s Market Stalls
This is great choice to include for larger summer fetes or shows. It encourages local businesses to become known and your visitors can go home loaded up with their weekly shopping.
Farmer’s Market stalls don’t have to be restricted to food produce either.
If you have a local flower farmer or florist, they may like the opportunity to sell their wares. Or there may be local seller who makes by-products from farmed goods such as bath, beauty or home products from things like lavender or honey.
The list could go on and I’m sure you will have your favourite stall to add that we have missed. But whatever stalls you include when organising your next summer fete, we hope the weather stays dry for you!