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Bringing Your Baby And Toddler Classes To Summer Fetes, Fairs & Festivals

With summer well and truly upon us, you may be thinking about pitching a stand at the local fete or summer fair, to help market your brand and business. Or you might even be thinking of one of the bigger family summer festivals like CarFest.

We chatted with business owner Kristine Monaghan, founder of the Children’s Activity Business Club, who has worked with over 1000 children’s activity providers to help market their business in a different way. 

With a wealth of experience in bringing baby and toddler classes to summer events like these, she’s given us this brilliant step-by-step guide to getting started.

Local Events – Summer Fetes and Fairs


Before The Event:

1) Ask Yourself (And The Organisers) Some Key Questions

First, ask yourself, is it worth my time and money being at the event? Should I go in the first place? While it can feel flattering to be invited to set up a stall, you need to weigh up the benefits of being there. You need to ask the organisers some questions – 

  • How long has the event been established for?
  • What is the footfall likely to be?
  • How are they marketing and advertising?
  • Will the organiser promote you being there as well? If so, it’s a win-win.
  • Where are they planning to put you? If your stall is in a corner, you may not get the footfall you were hoping for.

If you think you could have done a party booking instead, you could actually end up losing money, so it’s all about deciding where your time and energy is best spent. Try and think strategically: if you decide to go, have a plan and keep focused on getting leads for your baby or toddler class which can be followed up afterwards. 

2) Tell People You’re Going To Be There

Once you’ve decided to commit to a summer fete or fair, tell everyone you already know. Get it on to your emails or socials that you’re going to be at the event. Market yourself! Any followers may come over and say they saw your advertising online, so have come across for a chat. It’s all about brand awareness and word of mouth. 

3) Plan Ahead

Pre-schedule social media. Sort out a competition to hook people in when you’re there. Get your tech sorted out so you can collect email addresses. Afterwards, post loads of pictures so you can monopolise and push your content, saying you’ve had a brilliant day and spoken to lots of people. 

4) Be Branded Up

Wear a uniform with your logo and branding, so people know who you are straight away. Invest in a t-shirt and hoodie – you can get the basics printed from a local company, even if you start with just one set. 

5) Be Innovative

You can organise your own event if you’re struggling to get into something, or if there’s nothing in your area. Mess Around, my former business, used to hire halls and invite other businesses in – you can charge them and that will help pay towards venue hire. 


During The Event

1) Be At The Event And Get Leads By Running An Activity At Your Stall

Your main focus should be getting leads from potential customers – email addresses or phone numbers. Leads will allow you to build your customer base. Flyers are fine for raising awareness, but ideally you’ll collect contact details by having members of the public engage with activities at your stall – like a competition. Use lead magnets like getting a baby or toddler session for free if people give their email address. 

2) Provide Activities Specifically For Children

Pop-up banners for advertising and flyers are fine but have something there to engage the children, e.g. bubbles or slime to grab their attention, or a “Spin the Wheel game”. Once their attention is grabbed, the parent will come.

Competitions like “Guess the Number of Jelly Babies” is a good one, where people have to give an email address to enter. You could set up tuff trays for children to come in and play or experience something from your toddler or baby class – keep them entertained so you have time to speak to the parent. Balloons are another great one – they can be expensive, but it will get your brand out there.

3) Bring A Laptop or Demonstrate

Along with activities, bring your own laptop so you can have a class video on loop on your stall. This will show prospective customers  what their baby or toddler would do in a typical class. It needs to be interactive so they can have a go at what your business is. Remember you’re here for a main reason – to collect leads!

Some smaller events might offer you the chance to do a demo of your class – and everyone comes along. School fetes will often be smaller, with lots of small tables, so your laptop demonstration and brand awareness will be key here. 

4) Use Your Phone

Maybe have an account set up on your phone so you can put leads in directly rather than having them on a bit of paper. You can use an email marketing system to get your leads set-up for people who are interested in your toddler or baby class:  MailerLite is free and simple to use for new businesses and start-ups, or you could use Mailchimp – which you have to pay for.

5) Sell A Product

If you’re at a local event, you will either get a table for free or be asked to pay just a charge for your table. Try selling a product like bubble guns to cover the cost of your table. Could you make your own slimes and sell those?

6) Be Prepared To Mingle

Come out from behind your stall and chat with people. Be as visible as possible. Speak to as many people as possible to really benefit and get your brand out there. 

7) Diversify and Be Seasonal

While you may be thinking purely of summer festivals at this point, you can try winter events as well, like Christmas festivals or craft stalls. If you are selling products like subscription boxes or any type of kits or arts and crafts, you could do seasonal or general markets. 

8) Be Strategic

Remember your focus of leads, leads and more leads!


After The Event

1) Drive A Campaign To Get People Back To Your Social Media Afterwards

Organise some sort of competition on the day so people come back to your socials afterwards to find out if they won. If not “Guess the Number of Jelly Babies”, then why not a photo competition (with your branding prominently on display)? If you run a dance class, you could try a photo shoot of the best/funniest move.

2) Be Visible 

Don’t rely on social media alone! Get physical in your local community – be out and about. Be visible so people get to know and trust you and build relationships. You will always get better results from real life relationships than online ones.

Get leads in, and follow up with marketing afterwards. Hopefully you will be invited back next year and the event will become part of your regular calendar.


What About Bigger Festivals And Other Multi-Day Events?

When I ran Mess Around, I was approached and took part in many of the big names out there, including Geronimo, CarFest and Kidtropolis. If you want to get into the larger, well-known festivals to promote your toddler or baby classes, there’s a lot to consider logistically. 

You Get Approached

You will typically get approached by the festival organisers. This means you need a really strong online presence to get invited or apply to be part of the festival in the first place – you’ll probably be at the franchisor level

Consider Your Costs…If They Don’t Pay

Usually, you pay to be part of the event – they don’t pay you! This means you need to cover all the associated costs mentioned below from your business budget. This will typically cost at least a couple of thousand pounds for all your costs and entry. 

Think about branding, marketing and set-up tents: you’ll need an exhibition kit.

Consider Your Costs…If They Do Pay

If the event does pay, you need to quote for the right amount – don’t underestimate all the costs involved. These will include van hire for transporting kit, money for staffing, marketing materials, food for staff, and possibly campsites. Be aware that it’s great to be asked but there is a cost associated for you as a business owner. 

For example, The South Bank Children’s Exhibition Show does pay exhibitors, but any quote for work needs to cover electricity costs as well as everything else. Budgeting is key!

Make The Most of Your Opportunity 

For franchisors trying to build their business nationally and get to the point of being recognised, large festivals are a great opportunity. As with smaller festivals, you need to market your business to say you’re going to be at this event, and have a publicity plan for putting out all the content you will generate at the festival afterwards. 

You’re there to market your business and entertain, so use this opportunity to your best advantage. And remember those all-important leads!

Don’t Expect to Charge For Classes or Activities

Festivals won’t let you charge for classes or activities (as they are covered in the overall ticket price of the festival), but you can sell merchandise e.g. bubble guns, to help cover some of your expenses. So if you’re looking to make a profit, think of a product you’ll be able to potentially sell. 

Weigh Up the Benefits 

Check the contract and weigh up the pros and cons of you attending this particular festival. For example, if there’s one festival in the north and the other in the south, you’d need to decide which location it’s worth you going to – the one where you can pick up the most leads from the region you’re based in. Remember that while it’s great for exposure, you’re going to be forking out at least a couple of thousand to go.

Be Realistic

Some festivals can be three days long. That’s three days of running back-to-back classes all day long. Events like Carfest want to know you can deal with numbers – how many people can you entertain at once and how many slots will you run a day?

Keep Focused 

As well as generating leads and publicity, festivals can be a great experience for you and your team. . Stay focussed on your goals, put thought into the planning, and you’ll get the most out of it. Just expect your diary to be out of sync for a while!




Thanks To Our Guest Expert, Krissy Monaghan

“No business owner should rely on just social media to market their baby and toddler classes. In-person events like local fetes and festivals do wonders for your business.” (Kristine Monaghan)


Kristine Monaghan is the founder of the Children’s Activity Business Club.  The #1 club for ambitious children’s activity providers who are serious about growing their business and having fun.

Check her Krissy today!


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