All the fun of the fête

School summer fete Kara trucker

You know the school year is drawing to a close when it’s time for the summer fête again.

The weather gods smiled down on us this year. By the time the gates opened at 11:30am, it was sunny and already in the mid-twenties. Perfect.

A lengthy queue of people shuffled in patiently, keen to throw cash at tombolas, raffles and games of chance and skill with the aim of winning back the very same bottles and sweets they had already donated. Bouncy castles and a barbecue stall are a must, of course. This year we even had a maypole dancing demonstration to accompany performances by both the school band and choir.

As an aside, it’s now official: The Greatest Showman is the film of the year.

Isaac, Toby and Kara hared about doing their own thing.

Kara proved herself the most likely of the three to become a trucker, as the photo above demonstrates. It’s only a matter of time before she demands that we trade in one of our cars for an 18-wheeler.

Toby was attracted to the bottle tombola, where he was pleased to draw a winning ticket. He was rather less impressed when he discovered that he had won a bottle of … shampoo.

Isaac dashed about seeing friends and playing games before taking his turn manning one of the stalls.

Fêtes are a very British thing. They’re a valuable fundraiser for the school and I’m always happy to support this kind of activity. But their logistics strike me as a bit odd. We will donate various odds and sods to the cause – sweets, bottles, cakes and so on – and then pay £30-£40 to come home with a bottle of Tesco Value shampoo and about £1 of sweets that the kids promptly devour in 17 seconds flat. Between the summer and winter fairs and Halloween, I reckon they accumulate and consume more sugar on those three days than in the rest of the year combined. It would be easier to just write the school a cheque and forego the ensuing post-sugar crash and tooth decay altogether. (I’m half expecting next year’s event to be co-sponsored by Haribo and our local dentist.)

Of course, that’s not really the point, is it? If left to their own devices, many parents would never get round to writing those cheques. And a school fête, despite the cost and complexity of setting it up, is an exercise in community as much as it is fundraising. So no complaints from me. That is, unless I do end up having to buy Kara that truck …


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