Spensley Street Primary's fete tied to community spirit 

Spensley Street Primary is unusual on the school fete circuit because it opts not to have what is usually a fete’s biggest earner – rides.

The Clifton Hill school would struggle to fit large rides on its small patch of land but this year’s fete convener, Nanette Bold, says the school has never wanted them.

‘‘They wouldn’t really fit in with our school’s philosophy,’’ she says. ‘‘We keep it pretty homegrown, and we manage it so it doesn’t get any bigger.’’

Despite this, Spensley earns healthy profits from its fete.

‘‘We are raising funds, but just as important are all the other things that go along with it. It’s the community feel, the things it teaches the kids – for example, we have china plates that we wash, instead of plastic – and the fun of it.

‘‘And the kids love it! They go wild in assembly every time it gets talked about.’’

Bold says many parents volunteer to help, even though the school community has a high proportion of families with both parents working.

‘‘We’re incredibly lucky that we have a very engaged community but also a lot of professional skills and confidence,’’ she says.

‘‘I know some schools allocate tasks to particular grades, but we rely entirely on people stepping up. They might bake a cake, they might run a stall. Everything helps.’’

All schools have their thing: Auburn South Primary is big on footballers in its parent population; Spensley is strong on musicians and offers a great day of music.

Other drawcards are vintage clothes, trash and treasure and food. For the kids, it’s the pirate tip, box maze, face paint, hula hoops and KnockEmOver – throwing balls at cans with teachers faces on them.

‘‘It really is quite amazing the energy that builds,’’ says Bold. ‘‘I’ve had such a ball organising. It’s been great.’’

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