Countdown to Kermesse

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En Bref talks to Holly Clarke, the 2019 Kermesse co-ordinator, about preparations for this years event:

Holly, you have taken on the organisation of this years Kermesse, which is the biggest event that the school runs each year. What persuaded you to volunteer for this role?

Well, following the departure of Dede Ogden, who did a fine job organising the Kermesse for the past few years, I knew the PTA were desperately trying to find someone to step up.  Given that I was food stall coordinator for the past three years I felt that I had a good handle on the way things worked.  I also have a solid background, career-wise, in event management.  Nevertheless Dede will be a hard act to follow!

When does the planning start, and what is involved?

The planning process started just after the Christmas break.  The biggest challenge we had was pulling a team together.  We now have a small team of great, enthusiastic people who are giving their all to make the Kermesse a memorable day.  This year we will have Ecolint Camps running the Fun Zone as a number of parents were concerned about child safety on the equipment.  This year it will be professionally run with Naima Hadadi at the helm.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

As I mentioned earlier the main challenge was getting team of dedicated people on board, other than that things have run relatively smoothly.

How many people are involved in running Kermesse, and how do you recruit them?

We have roughly six people running the main components such as publicity, food stalls, book stall, humanitarian efforts, the Fun Zone and sporting activities.  Other important jobs such as the Kermesse website, the Tea Garden, and cake decorating competition, have individuals who are very much involved. Plus myself of course…..

How do you keep the Kermesse fresh and interesting, and are there any new ideas for the 2019 event?

Yes, this year we have made a number of changes to refresh the Kermesse and give it a bit more of a ‘wow’ factor.

Firstly, we have moved the acoustic stage to the lawn in front of the Alps building – you are not going to get a more spectacular view whilst listening to our talented kids.  The adjacent Tea Garden, usually run out of the gym, will now be run out of the secondary cafeteria – hopefully the weather will be kind and people can sit out and sip their cups of tea under the awnings.  We plan not to use the gym (unless we get a bad weather forecast…) as we wanted to consolidate the Kermesse as we felt that quite a lot of things got a bit “lost” up there.

Secondly, working with Ecolint Camps, we have a three-tiered zone to cater to kids of all ages.  Little kids will have fun in the usual spot in front of the gym and we have got a whole host of cool new equipment to ensure they have great fun and parents feel that they are getting value for money.  For older kids we will have some great rides on the basketball court which we know they will love.  We are also holding sporting activities and competitions on the main sports field, with sign up on the day. There will be prizes for all.

The other thing that I am introducing for the first time is a pizza van beside the sports pitch for the competitors and spectators, plus a drinks/bar in this area.  We will also have an ice cream stand down by the food stalls, to add a bit of atmosphere.

Why is Kermesse important for the school community?

I think we would all agree that the Kermesse is primarily to bring the international families together and to enhance the spirit of the school.  Everyone can get so caught up in academics and results that we lose the importance of community spirit and making great friends at school, both for the pupils and the parents.  If we make a bit of money for the PTA Kermesse Grants, that is great, but it is not the ultimate goal of the day.

I’d like to say a big thank you to a great team of people who have come together to make the day happen – you know who you are.

Kermesse will take place on Saturday 15 June this year – let’s hope for some sunshine!

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