The cycle of fete

Posted on November 6, 2011

Today was School Fete Day.

(Thank you for your kind wishes. I’m fine.)

I was tempted to simply run this post again – my stellar effort from last year’s stellar fete –  but, in the end, decided to go with simply running the same opening. Every fete feels as though it will be the same as the last one, but it’s not. Yes, I was on the book stall again (this year’s highlight books most discussed book was one called You Sexy Mother, but we had nothing to rival last year’s 365 Ways to Drive A Man Wild in Bed). Yes, the lead-up to the fete was announced by a deluge of coloured notes. No, I didn’t win anything in the raffle again. Not that I’m complaining, you understand.

This year I was watching the organisers of our fete with a slightly different mindset. During the writing of my new book Career Mums (out January 2012 – gratuitous plug), I learned a few things from my co-author Kate Sykes about how to write your resume if you’ve been out of paid employment for a while. Her take-home message: you have the skills, you just need to put them in work-speak. As I watched our P&F president, treasurer, secretary et al in action, I realised that she was right.

Our president has the marshaling skills of a tactician, the organisation skills of a General, and the patience of a saint. We have two mums at the school who created a pop-up shop, complete with hand-crafted doo-dads, homemade yummy stuff, and their own gozleme, from scratch, under a tent, without drama. Publicity, marketing, events management, retail, entrepreneurial skills… they’re all there. Just ordinary people, doing their thing.

As one burly farmer said to me over a beer at the wind-down event, “Where else would you rather be on a Sunday afternoon than with a bunch of tired, sweaty, satisfied volunteers?”

Where indeed?

Seriously, though, it’s a great way to keep your skills up or learn new ones. And next year I might just win the raffle.



  1. Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    ‘Her take-home message: you have the skills, you just need to put them in work-speak.’

    So very true. I have seen CV’s that you just KNOW that they would be fabulous at the job and have the skills but haven’t been able to sell themselves in work speak.

  2. Tracey from Central Coast Seachange

    Last year I organised the school fete for my son’s school. Having a background in marketing and events helped but certainly couldn’t do it without the volunteers on the day. The lead up was hectic as only 5 of us doing anything and we worked.

    The kids loved it and we raised money which at the end of the day is what it’s all about.

  3. Country Gypsies

    I wrote a post on my blog the same day as you about our own school fete.
    Your take on it was so much nicer than mine! Think I may be feted out. Love it if you would have a read http://countrygypsies,blogspot.com
    Thanks for allowing my gratitious plug!
    And yes, the cold beer at the end of the day never tasted so good!

  4. River

    I’ve never volunteered to serve atthe school fetes, but I did work on the committee, in the background you might say. I donated goods and cakes for sale though.

  5. Lisa @lybliss

    Our school fete is this weekend, and I am on the pizza and wine stall (bless the Catholic school system, happily serving wine from 10am to all and sundry) As you might imagine we don’t have to market our stall much, we are THE place to visit. However the behind the scene politics of fete committees is something to behold. Scary parents with scary agendas. I’ll just pour another glass and take a back seat 🙂

  6. therhythmmethod

    So true! I’ve been on the kinder committee for two years, and it’s not dissimilar to being on university committees.
    As an aside, could you do a post on preparing a resume to return to work? I had to redo mine recently after 4 years out and I don’t feel I did myself justice on paper.
    Looking forward to this book of yours, particularly now you’ve put us on rations. 😉

  7. Diminishing Lucy

    So so true.

    Those skills – they make your reputation too – in career or school – I got “the call” to request that I did the cake stall again…It appears that that is now my job. Twice yearly (sports day and christmas concert) for the duration of the primary era…

    Those organisers – they have better data bases than recruitement agencies I tell you…

    Glad you had a cold beer afterwards. Key to the whole event!

  8. tinsenpup

    I LOVE fetes. They are almost always fun. That may well be the single greatest drawback to homeschooling – no school fete. Although, homeschooling would have plenty to offer in the way of resume fodder, now that I think of it.

  9. Ms Styling You

    Love a school fair/fete. And love that ours has a bar (biggest fundraiser)! … Oh and I’m friends with the author of You Sexy Mother 😉

  10. Mum on the Run

    ‘Benn’ aka ‘been’.

  11. Mum on the Run

    There’s not a committee I’ve benn on that hasn’t taught me something.
    (Does that sentence even make sense?? I need an editor!)
    Sometimes I learn more of the ‘what not to do’ than the affirmative – but it’s learning and growing all the same.

    Hope your recovery goes as well as possible.

  12. Cath

    I love your point about volunteering being a good way to acquire and practice new job skills. Can’t wait to see (um… review) your book!

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