Host Your Own FamFest

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    FamFest is a community supported kids fair uniting families, local businesses, community partners, and educational professionals to bring awareness to early learning, kindergarten readiness, and family supports. Tap into the childhood magic of trick-or-treating all year long with the use of Take and Makes.  At FamFest, families utilize a Passport to collect  easy, ready-to-use activities from businesses, vendors, or educational professionals.  Each contains a family engagement component and informally connects early learning to the South Dakota Kindergarten Content Standards. FamFest can be combined with a resource fair to inform families of the various supports available within the community.

    FamFest Funds Available

    The SD Statewide Family Engagement Center is providing stipends of up to $2000 for South Dakota organizations or schools to host a FamFest in their community.  Contact Darbi Hunt at for an event proposal form or more information.

    Use the planning guide and resources below to host a FamFest in your community!


    Form a committee

    A successful event starts with a successful committee. An optimal committee number is 5-7 people representing various industries, like marketing, business, non-profits, policy makers, and education.  Use the slides below to help pitch FamFest to potential partners. You can also download and edit the Overview and FAQ handouts.

    Develop plan for your event

    Working backwards from now to event day, set dates, timelines, and priorities for accomplishing your event goals.  Answer the questions of who, what, where, when, why, and, most importantly, how you will communicate and achieve it.  Divide responsibilities between your committee and meet every 4-6 weeks. 

    Secure a venue, date, and time

    The venue will be a critical component to your FamFest and will need to be one of the first items accomplished on your to-do list. Although families will be traveling business-to-business, they will need a start-point to collect their Passport.  Consider utilizing your local library, museum, or school.  Check with your city for available space that they may provide free for educational and family purposes.  The date of your event may depend on your event goals, funding, and partnerships.

    Invite speakers, authors, or other guests

    Your venue can be more than a start- and end- point. Use it to build community for families with food or feature a family storytime, developmental screening, Q&A panel on parent interest topics, or children’s musicians. Another great option is to partner with community agencies for a resource fair. We recommend extending the length of your FamFest to offer families enough time for both if you choose to add a resource fair.

    Resources for Creating Partnerships


    Recruit businesses for FamFest stops

    Family-oriented businesses, like toy stores, movie theaters, and art shops, make great stops but consider any family-friendly  businesses a great option. Some businesses may want to host an activity in-store instead of passing out a Take and Make. You can either offer them suggestions or let them highlight their talents.  Be sure to ask if they would like to offer any discounts or specials you can promote on the FamFest Passport.

    Order materials and assembly Take and Makes

    Determine which Take and Makes (or other activities) you'd like to have at FamFest. Order materials from a reputable site at least 3 weeks before you plan to prepare them. Check with your local volunteer agency for help assembling the Take and Makes and book this assembly date well in advance.

    Develop a FamFest Passport

    Your FamFest Passport will inform families of participating businesses and can include any discounts, sponsorship information, and other key info.

    Recruit volunteers for event

    This is a family and community engagement event. Station a volunteer at each stop to connect with families around their child’s development or to meet your event goals.

    Resources for Planning and Recruiting


    Develop and distribute promotional flyer

    Use the editable template below (or create your own) to make a promotional flyer and distribute at least 6 weeks in advance of your event.  Remember to share with local childcare providers, schools, community organizations and boards, and participating businesses.  You can feature this in print media, and local grocery stores can place in each grocery bag, too!

    Promote your event on social media

    Use Facebook and other social media channels to share about your FamFest. We've provided some images to use, or create your own! Keep posts brief and engaging while highlight key details. You could also create a Facebook Event or use paid advertising to boost your reach.

    Send out a press release

    A press release is a written statement about your event for local media and can include 1 or 2 photos to catch media attention.  Email to local listservs, media outlets, and newspapers. Don't forget to utilize your committee’s connections.

    Resources for Promoting Your FamFest


    Send logistics email to businesses

    It's best to communicate with participating businesses throughout the event planning process, but you will want to send out an email with logistics information 3-5 days before the event and receive confirmation the business is still participating. You can use the template below as a guide.

    Distribute Take and Makes and FamFest Location Signs to businesses

    Coordinate with businesses to set a time to deliver the Take and Makes and the FamFest Location Sign to display in their window. Include a stamps, stickers, or markers for them to utilize on the FamFest Passport on event day.

    Set up venue and photo booth

    Photo booths are an excellent way for families to remember your event for years to come.  Grab a solid sheet or tablecloth for a background and either station a volunteer and  polaroid here or make the photo booth it’s own stop for families to use their own cell phone to snap a pic. Create a fun hashtag and encourage families to share on social media!

    Celebrate, learn, take pictures, and have fun!

    You’ve worked hard for this day! Enjoy it, but know that something will probably not go as planned.  Be flexible.  Use your volunteers and committee to assign duties, and don’t forget to have someone document the fun!

    Resources for Hosting Your FamFest


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