Planning Safe Festivals and Events

Whatever the purpose of occasion, festivals and events can be the highlight of your organization's social calendar. When executed successfully, these events can be a fun time for your members as well as for your surrounding community.

Festivals and other events certainly do not plan themselves; they take time and effort to plan and prepare. Whether your event raises money or is just for fun, it is likely to bring together large crowds. From large festivals to smaller events, ensure safety precautions are made a priority so everyone enjoys their time and your event is a success.

Managing People

Volunteer Check-in - Planning Safe Festivals -  Church Mutual

Hosting a festival requires the work and assistance of many people. Plan ahead and determine how much help you will need and where it will come from. Consider the following:

  • Volunteer Labor: Make sure volunteers are capable of completing the task at hand. Set restrictions on age and ability as needed. Give them the training and equipment needed to do their job. Read about Volunteer Safety and Management for more information.
  • Paid Employees: If you will be hiring people to help with your event, make sure you are complying with employment laws such as child labor laws. Establish a chain of command and a procedure for reporting any injuries on-the-job. Review our Workforce Management information for more tips.
  • Vendors: If you will be paying third-party vendors to assist at your event, search for reviews or get referrals from other organizations. Request a certificate of insurance from any vendors you decide to do business with and ask to be named as an additional named insured on their insurance policy. Also make sure they comply with any applicable licensing or inspection requirements.

Food and Drink

Food on Picnic Table - Planning Safe Festivals -  Church Mutual

Food and drink is often a staple of many festivals and events. When serving food, follow these tips:

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold - avoid the “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees where bacteria is most likely to grow.
  • Do not cross contaminate foods - clean cooking surfaces and utensils before introducing new food types.
  • Be mindful of food allergies - indicate foods which may contain allergens.

Review our Food Safety Tips for Any Occasion to learn more.

If serving alcohol at your festival is something that appeals to you and your congregation, there are a few guidelines we recommend you follow:

  • Verify whether or not a liquor license is required and ensure you are compliant with any laws in your city, county, or state.
  • Serve only to legal patrons and do not over-serve.
  • Designate a specific area for alcohol serving and consumption and require servers to complete an accredited safe alcohol service training class.
  • Contact your Customer Service Team to make sure you have the proper insurance coverages in place.

Money Handling

Money Handling - Planning Safe Festivals -  Church Mutual

If you are collecting money or raising funds as part of your event, follow these tips to keep cash safe and secure:

  • Designate responsible people to handle funds. Complete background checks on these individuals to be sure your money handlers are trustworthy.
  • Define a streamlined process so that money is always accounted for. Try and avoid having money go through too many hands - the less movement the better.
  • When counting money, never leave the task to one person - always have two unrelated adults present while counting. This helps prevent against both fraud and robbery.
  • Deposit cash to the bank as soon as possible. Store cash in a secure location at your facility if needed. Never send cash home with anyone.

For more tips on ways to prevent theft, read Who Would Steal from Us?

Safety for All

Kids in Bouncy Castle - Planning Safe Festivals -  Church Mutual

Among your planning and preparation efforts, don’t forget these basic safety tips:

  • Before the event, check the area for hazards such as uneven ground, loose extension cords, and anything else that could cause injury. Continue to look for hazards once people arrive. Keep a first aid kit readily available to respond to any injuries.
  • Coordinate with local law enforcement and emergency services so that they are prepared for your event.
  • Alert and coordinate with your safety and security team so they can be present and noticeable during your event - provide CPR training and a means of communication between team members and emergency services.
  • Maintain order in parking areas by identifying traffic flow patterns and designating attendants to guide and monitor traffic.

Also remember these safety tips for special activities taking place at your event:

  • Avoid setting up inflatable rides on hard surfaces or near overhead power lines. These devices should always be anchored to the ground.
  • Ensure only adults enter dunk tanks and the tanks are supervised and secured when not in use. Clean water spills immediately to avoid slips and falls and avoid setting-up dunk tanks near electrical cords.
  • Make sure all activities are set up and supervised by trained adults. Equipment should be operated per the manufacturers’ specifications and be age-appropriate for users.
  • Contact your Customer Service Team to make sure you have the proper insurance coverages in place.

Review our brochure to Make Activities Safer for Your Congregation.


Additional Resources:

If you have additional questions, or need help with planning a safe festival or event, call our Risk Control Central at (800) 554-2642, ext. 5213, or email riskconsulting@churchmutual.com.

Our Claims Center is here to help! To report a claim, call (800) 554-2642 and select Option 2, or email claims@churchmutual.com.

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