Ideas for Games to Play at a Festival


Festivals provide entertainment and in most cases also raise much-needed funds for the host organization. They are well attended because they are appropriate for people of all ages. A successful festival depends largely on the games it features–if the games aren't entertaining, people won't come or spend a lot of money on tickets. A combination of both traditional and less common games creates a traditional but fresh festival atmosphere.

Fish Pond

  • The Fish Pond is a traditional festival game in which players "fish" for prizes. Holes are cut in the front of a booth so that the string for the "fishing lines" may be threaded through to the side with the workers. The workers then attach prizes to the fishing lines, which have clothespins attached. For this game, small prizes such as sticker sets, pencils, small figurines or dolls are best.

Basketball/Football Throw

  • The Basketball/Football Throw are two games aimed more at the boys at the festival, although anyone interested in sports can play. For the Basketball Throw, a portable net is set up in an open area. The player either can make shots from a particular distance away, or he may be challenged to make a certain number of baskets in order to win a prize. For the Football Throw (sometimes called the Quarterback Toss), a hole is cut in a section of plywood, which is set on end. Players have to throw the football through the hole to win a prize.


  • Quilles is a game from France that is similar to bowling, except that the pins must be knocked down using a ball attached to a suspended rope. This requires a good sense of angles and sensitivity to how much energy is needed to move the ball. The pins may be made of carved wood or plastic, or you can just set up some empty plastic 2-liter bottles for a cheap alternative. Prizes may be awarded based on the number of pins knocked down, so you may vary the rules to give a prize to everyone or just those who get a strike. You also may set up multiple stations and have contests, giving prizes to the one who knocks the most pins down in a turn.

Sumo Wrestling

  • Sumo wrestling is a game with origins in Asia. Players try to knock or force their opponent out of a ring on the ground. You'll have to rent the Sumo suits or make them, and you'll also need a wrestling mat or other padding for safety. This game is perfect for kids, who tend to have a ton of energy and like wrestling anyway. You can give prizes for each winner, but you also can have Sumo wrestling tournaments with one big prize at the end. You'll need to take care to match people of approximately the same height and weight, but gender isn't an issue since they're wearing the suits.

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