7 Ways to Have a Fun, and Safe, Fall Festival
Does your church have a fall festival on the calendar? Here are a few ways to keep your event safe and fun.
Choose Your Vendors Wisely
Many churches will bring in vendors who man bounce houses, serve food and sell items. While most are honest individuals who make a living selling their product or service, it's always a good idea to check their credentials before signing on the dotted line. Protect your church by asking to see the vendor's certificate of insurance. Also take time to check his or her references and ask around to see if other churches have used that vendor and what their experience was like.
Follow Food Safety Guidelines
Be sure to follow all basic food safety guidelines. That means cleaning and sanitizing all food prep areas, as well as storing and serving food at appropriate temperatures. Label everything for guests with allergies. Provide a place for guests to wash up or a hand sanitizer station to use before they indulge in the yummy treats you provide.
Make It Safe to Play
Assign at least two adults for each church-sponsored activity and only allow teenagers to volunteer if they are working alongside an adult. If the children will participate in an activity that requires supplies, like a game or a craft, use non-toxic materials and avoid tiny pieces that can be choking hazards. Also provide clear directions so parents can easily find activities that are age-appropriate for their children.
Bounce Around Safely
The bounce house is a must at any festival. Make sure you rent your equipment from a reputable company and ask to see their certificate of insurance. Arrange for the rental company's staff to set up, operate and tear down the equipment. If necessary, assign church members to direct traffic and enforce the safety rules at the bounce house.
Bring Out the Hay Wagon
Hayrides are a popular activity for all ages. If you plan to offer a ride at your festival, arrange to have a responsible person provide the tractor, wagon and driving services. Also check that the tractor and wagon are equipped with adequate road and safety lighting, warning signs and sturdy side panels. Choose your route carefully, and, if possible, avoid taking the hayride onto any roads that have regular traffic. Assign supervisors to ride in the wagon to keep everyone safe.
Light Up the Night
If you want to cap off your festival with a bonfire, start by contacting your local fire department for help. They'll explain all the guidelines you'll need to follow so your fire is safe and legal. On the day of your event, assign trained individuals to start the fire, attend it and extinguish it at the end of the night.
Check Your Policy
Before your festival, check with your property and casualty agent to ensure your policies cover the activities you are planning. With planning, preparation and proper attention to safety, your church can have a fantastic fall festival.