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Setting up a School Carnival Redemption Center


One of the keys to good traffic flow at a carnival is having a central location where prizes will be awarded.  This will keep games functioning and mean more carnival guests have an opportunity to play, win and ultimately spend more money.  Also, it is useful to set hours of operation for the redemption center.  The redemption center can be opened an hour after the carnival starts so that carnival guests have time to earn enough tickets for prizes.

There are many ways you can set up a redemption center but here are two of our favorite ways which allow you to quickly serve the most people:

The Buffet Style Redemption Center


Supplies Needed:

  • Baskets
  • Note Cards
  • Black Marker
  • Tape
  • Tables
  • 2-3 attendants per table plus a line attendant

Directions for Set Up:

  • Place baskets on top of a table.
  • Remove prizes from packaging and sort by ticket price
  • Assign a ticket price to each basket, tape the ticket price to the front of the basket, and then place all the prizes for that ticket price inside the basket.
  • Have carnival guests line up on one side of the table and redemption center workers on the other.  It helps if you have 2-3 redemption center workers per table.
  • Carnival guests can choose from the baskets and exchange tickets for the merchandise as they peruse the table.
  • This format works best if your carnival is relatively small, say less than 100 people
  • Have an attendant at the front of the line who limits the number of shoppers at the redemption table at one time.  Maximum of 5 shoppers per table.

Pros for the Buffet:

  • Easy Set up
  • Very Few Supplies needed (and therefore minimal cost) to set this up

Cons for the Buffet:

  • Traffic can move a little slowly as guests may want to review all the items and then go back to the beginning again to make their choices.
  • More than one type of prize in a basket may slow the line down as guests will need time to look through the baskets.

Menu Style Redemption Center


Supplies Needed:

  • Peg Board or Cork Board
  • Drapery Hooks and Super Glue or Peg Hooks and Twine
  • Black Marker
  • Note Cards
  • Clear Packing Tape
  • Tables
  • 2-3 attendants per table
  • Sample of all redemption prizes for the “Menu”

Directions for Set Up:

  • Set up against a wall
  • Hang Peg board on the wall
  • Take each sample prize and attach it to the peg board
    • For small plastic items can tape them on the board
    • For larger items attach to the pegboard by tying string or twine around the item and then tying the other end to the peg hook or super glue a draper hook to the sample prize (this looks the best but can be a
      time consuming a sticky process)
  • Write the ticket prize for each prize on a note card and tape the notecard next to the prize on the menu (Make sure you use large, block style writing)
  • Place tables in front of peg board
  • Open all the prizes and sort into boxes under the tables and along the wall.
  • Carnival guests review the menu and choose their prize.
  • Have 2-3 attendants per table

Pros for the Menu:

  • Looks very professional & is easy to shop
  • Guests can shop for prizes while the wait in line making lines move more quickly
  • Less redemption center workers to work the tables

Cons for the Buffet:

  • Lengthy set up time
  • More expensive set up because have to put a sample of each prize out
  • More Supplies required in set up