Tag: games

funfair events

Best Funfair Stalls For A Wedding

9 April 2022
Hook A Duck Hire

We are often asked what are the best funfair stalls for a wedding. There is a huge range of games available for weddings, parties and events. Having provided them for thousands of events over the years, we have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work. Unfortunately many clients have different ideas.

Working on the ‘customer is always right’ principle, maybe we should just say nothing and let them have what they want. However that usually leads to dissatisfaction, and that isn’t our measure of a good event.

So lets have a look at what you should have, and some of what you shouldn’t have at your big day.

Hook A Duck

This is one that crops up regularly, and is firmly in the don’t recommend camp. The game is simplicity itself, you are armed with a stick, at the end of which dangles a hook. A tank containing little rubber ducks floats about and all you have to do is hook one. Then you get a prize and everyone is happy.

The trouble is, on a traditional fairground, you pay to play, so people have a single go and the prize giving can be controlled. At a wedding or typical corporate event, the guests play for free. So unless you have paid extra for massive amounts of prizes, the kids will play continuously to the prizes are exhausted. Then the game is left unplayed for the rest of the day, skill games like coconut shie will still see use after the prizes are gone because the guests like to prove they can win.

It is possible to slow the prize giving by marking some ducks as winners and most as losers, but the kids are then disappointed as they expect to win.

The usual argument raised in favour is that it lets the little ones win, but we can operate any game in a manner to ‘help’ the kids win.

Hook A Duck Hire
Hook A Duck Hire

Coconut Shie

This is firmly in the recommended camp. Possibly one of the most classic of funfair games, the principle is easy peasy. Throw a wooden ball and knock a coconut off.

Now, I’ll let you into a secret. On a traditional fairground, some of the coconuts were replaced with ‘duds’. These were fake coconuts, made from a really heavy wood. Theoretically you could knock them off. But you would probably need to use an exocet missile.

We don’t need to do that, prizes are part of the hire price so losing them is already factored into the charges.

For the younger players we can move them closer to the targets, and for the really little ones we let them toa coconut rather than knock it off.

Coconut Shie
Coconut Shie

Test Your Strength

Another of the old tyme classics. Swing the hammer, hit the peg ring the bell to win. Again we can adjust the force required to make it easier for smaller guests. Or instead of ringing the bell we can set a number on the 1 to 10 scale for them to win.

It is a common misconception that its pure strength that wins, but in fact its an equal part of strength and accuracy. You need to hit the peg perfectly flatly. Sometimes its fin when a smaller lady is just the right height to hit the peg properly and win, leaving the big musclebound guys hitting it with all their might and walking away failures.

Test Your Strength For Hire
Test Your Strength For Hire

Cans Off The Shelf

This is one of our harder to play games. Knock the cans off the shelf using the three soft balls. Sounds simple, but the cans are heavy and they have to be completely off the shelf to win. This does require a fair bit of strength, along with accuracy. We help the smaller guests by reducing the can count, knocking some off for them, in fact we can guarantee a win when we need do.

This makes a great second game, being a bit harder it gets the competitive juices flowing, testosterone kicks in and the guys need to prove who can do it.

Cans Off The Shelf Branded
Cans Off The Shelf Branded


Another of those, dead easy to play, really hard to win. Well not so hard really, cos our rings are larger than normal. What happens on the fairground, (another of those secret things we are letting you in on here), is that usually the square blocks with the good prizes on are only fractionally smaller than the rings. It is possible to win, only just. Some of the blocks with the boxes of sweets on are smaller so it appears that a stream of people do take prizes.

Hoopla Game
Hoopla Game

Shooting Gallery

Traditionally we used air rifles and pellets. Sadly with the Health and Safety Gestapo, sorry executive, its too much hassle. A little known fact is that as members of the Showmen’s Guild, we actually have a firearms exemption certificate which allows us to buy actual live guns that fire real bullets without needing a licence, although we are restricted to 0.22 calibre. I would love to see the local HSE guys face when we turned up with that one.

Anyway the easiest solution now is cork firing guns. Totally safe and still fun we have a range of targets of differing levels of difficulty so can tailor a game to suit any requirements.

Corks also add a random element to the game as they tend to fly in random directions. Probably why the British Army use bullet shaped bullets rather than corked shaped ones.

What I love is when someone who has never fired a gun picks one up and is transformed into a long range sniper. Well in his own head at least.

So what would we recommend as the best funfair stalls for a wedding? Our most popular package is coconut shie, hoopla and cans off the shelf. These provide a selection that suit all ages and abilities. As well as being different enough from each other to make it fun. If you want to add to them, shooting gallery would probably be our recommendation.

Whatever your requirements, if you are looking to hire funfair games, get in touch and we can tailor a package for you.

Event Planning, Fun Story, Funfair Games

Wedding Crazy Golf Hire

1 October 2021
Crazy Golf For Weddings Parties Events

Our crazy golf has been a big hit this season. We have however been inundated with requests for a more ‘wedding’ themed layout. We finally got around to putting together our initial wedding course for a client. Pictured here are our initial wedding crazy golf 9 holes. Like most things we will modify and adapt this at it evolves and we come up with better ideas.

Wedding Golf Hole 1
Wedding Golf Hole

Hole 1….Love

Slalom the love letters, around the rotating wedding shoes, miss the stacked hearts and then into the birdcage. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Wedding Golf Hole 2

Hole 2….Hearts

The iconic symbol of love is the heart. And we have lots of them, in various shades. Throw in a bouquet or two and you have our second hole.

Wedding Golf Hole 3

Hole 3…Ducks Of Love

Our classic rubber duck hole. Through the ducks of love, avoid the funfair shooting gallery ducks, then up the ramp and into the bath.

Wedding Golf Hole 4

Hole 4…Let Them Eat Cake

An important part of the day. The wedding cake. A selection of cakes, with fun toppers.

Wedding Golf Hole 5

Hole 5….Make A Wish

Through the wishing well, dodge the windmill, and into the hole. On a role now.

Wedding Golf Hole 6

Hole 6…Diamond Geezer

Dodge the diamond solitaire. Loop the loop of the engagement ring, up the bridge and into the hole.

Wedding Golf Hole 7

Hole 7…Lucky Horseshoes

Lots of luck here, horseshoes galore.

Wedding Golf Hole 8

Hole 8…Can The Can

The classic wedding cans attached to the back of cars as the happy couple flee the scene.

Wedding Golf Hole 9

Hole 9…Mr & Mrs

The final hurdle, through the wedding party of skittles, slalom the happy couple (Which can be Mr & Mr or Mrs & Mrs) and up the ramp to the finish. Bobs your Uncle.

Of course you don’t have to have our wedding crazy golf for your event. You can just as easily have one of our multi themed golf courses.

Event Planning, Fun Story, Funfair Games

Shooting Galleries, Tips To Win At The Funfair

2 April 2021

Most people will have visited a fairground. Played on the games and lost, and been absolutely convinced the games are cons. The truth is, the vast majority aren’t. They are set up to be difficult, and favour the operator. But they are not set up as charities, the operator needs to take more than he pays out.

Bear in mind the following;

According to the National Lottery website, the odds of winning the major prizes are: Lotto jackpot: 1 in 45,057,474. EuroMillions jackpot: 1 in 139,838,160

Yet no one considers them to be con tricks.

Before we look at shooting galleries there is one thing to understand. The size of the prize on offer is directionally proportional to the difficulty of winning it. Look, if a giant teddy costs the operator £20 wholesale, he needs to earn at least £20 to cover the cost of it. But it doesn’t stop there. There is also the costs of transporting the game to the fair, insuring it, paying for it, paying the ground rent, the diesel for the power generator, ammunition for the guns, maintenance and so on. Realistically before giving out a £20 prize, I would be looking at a minimum of £100 takings to ensure I actually earn something. So if it’s £2 per game, you would expect on average to try 50 times before winning.

Pellets Or Corks

There are two main types of shooting galleries. The traditional air rifles firing pellets, and those firing corks. When it comes to corks there isn’t much help we can offer, use the gun like a shotgun, point it in the general direction and hope for the best

. There is a reason that no army in the world uses cork shaped bullets, and it’s this, corks are not aerodynamic, they start to tumble in random directions as soon as they leave the barrel of the gun. That’s why the army uses, well, bullet shaped bullets.

Now, on the pellet shooters there are some tips that can increase your chances to win, so let’s look at some of the myths you think are stopping you winning.

The Barrel Is Bent

Erm, no it really isn’t. Contrary to popular belief a bent barrel doesn’t make the gun fire somewhere different to where it is aimed. It just doesn’t fire at all as the pellet will jam in the barrel. The gun below with a bent barrel does actually fire around corners, but it a special weapon built especially to do that.

corner gun
corner gun

The Sights Are Off

Again no. Well, some probably are, but here is the thing. Military snipers are some of the best marksmen in the world. They spend hour upon hour firing thousands of rounds to hone their skills. They do however tend to use a personalised weapon. When they go into battle, they use the actual gun they have been practising with all this time. The reason being that guns can have minor differences in aim caused by manufacturing tolerances, scope mounts etc. The sniper will spend time zeroing in his/her weapon to their own specifications. They also tend to be set up for a particular range. What you wouldn’t expect them to do, is pick up a totally strange weapon and fire with the same accuracy.

So to win on a funfair shooter, you are going to have to do two things. The first is have more than one attempt. You will need at least one to sort the aim out.

Another major issue is that most people don’t actually know how to use the open sights on a rifle. Sure they watched all the war movies, and in their own minds they are all Carlos Hathcock, (A top US sniper in case you didn’t know, his life story can be found in this great article), but they really don’t know how to shoot. We can usually tell if a player knows how to handle a gun from his second shot. The first one might be off, but the following shots are usually on target.

Aiming Off

They do this by using a technique called aiming off. What you do is take a shot at the bullseye, or whatever the target is. You then pause to see where it has impacted. Lets say for a moment that the shot hit 5mm above where you aimed and 10mm to the right. What you would do on your following shots is aim off by the same amount, ie. aim 5mm lower and 10mm to the left. This should bring you back on target.

Using this will give you a reasonable amount of accuracy and vastly improve your chances of winning on shooting galleries.

Event Planning, funfair events

The 7 Best Funfair Games For Your Christmas Party

1 November 2020

There is a large selection of funfair games for your Christmas party, from the timeless hook a duck, to themed Christmas shooting galleries.

Over the years we have provided thousands of stalls to different events so have a good understanding of which work the best, not only at parties, but at weddings and corporate events.

There is no one size fits all, as it does depend on the age of the guests, type of party etc, and talking to us would allow us to put a package together to suit your specific requirements.

Hook A Duck

We have included this one first, just to point out that it is a game we DON’T recommend.

Everyone assumes this is the go to game if you have young kids, because it’s a prize every time, and something they remember from their childhood. The truth is that there are no games as boring. Because it’s usually used as a prize every time game, after a couple of hours the prizes are all gone and no one bothers playing it. Something like a coconut shie, even with the prizes gone, the guests will keep playing just for the prestige of showing they can do it.

And if you want a prizes every time for the kids, well we can do that with any of the games.

Hook A Duck Hire
Hook A Duck Hire

Coconut Shie

Now this is one that we always recommend. Its another of those classic fairground games that everyone remembers. By varying the throwing distance, you can make it easier for the kids and harder for the grown ups. If you are putting together a package of games this should always be on the list.

Coconut Shie
Coconut Shie

Tin Can Alley

This one is one of our harder games, throw the soft balls and knock all of the cans off the shelf. It makes a good second game for events with adults, as this really brings the competitive streak out in everyone. We help younger players out by removing some of the cans and giving them extra throws, but its one we recommend for the older crowd.

Tin Can Alley
Tin Can Alley

Darts An All Time Classic

This is one of those super versatile games. If you need it difficult, no probs, 3 darts and score over 50 with 3 separate numbers. Sort the men from the boys. Want an easier one, bust the balloon, not as easy as it looks, but still doable by the kids.

Darts Game
Darts Game

Test Your Strength

Another all time classic. Again a perfect mix for all ages, the big boys have to ring the bell to win, the kids can score over 5. But its not totally about strength, the peg needs to be struck perfectly level. We have seen small ladies ring the bell, whilst big hairy bikers struggle to get past the half way mark.

Test Your Strength For Hire
Test Your Strength For Hire


One of the easier games, and again suitable for all ages. Throw the ring over the block, but remember, it has to lay flat on the table, just hanging over the prizes doesn’t count, Stevie Wonder could do that. When we used to operate at traditional funfairs, this game caused more arguments then all the others combined, because people didn’t bother reading the rules.

Hoopla Game
Hoopla Game

A personal favourite, mainly because growing up when I started out, my first stall was a shooting gallery. On the traditional funfairs we used pellet firing air rifles. Unfortunately as many of our events are weddings and corporate parties, where alcohol is involved, we now fire corks.

Cowboy Shooting Gallery For Hire
Cowboy Shooting Gallery For Hire

Most clients tend to go for a package of three games, our usual recommendation is coconut shie, cans and hoopla. But of course the client is always right so we can put a package together from these games and

  • ball in a bucket
  • ring toss
  • ball in a milk churn
  • penny on a plate
  • knock the teeth out
  • Mini Crossbows
  • Mini Basketball
  • Penalty Shoot Out

We can also design and build custom games for corporate promotions with custom branding and even custom games. These are the best funfair games for your Christmas party, but work equally well at weddings or summer events.

Drop us a line if you want to hire funfair games.

Event Planning, funfair events, Funfair Games

7 Best Sidestalls Hire For Events

8 September 2020
Basketball Funfair Game Hire

One of our most popular attractions at events is our range of compact sidestall hire. With a range of Victorian games from the iconic traditional hook a duck and coconut shie. To modern treats such as mini basketball and knock the cans off the shelf. All of our games can be custom branded, as the examples here show on a recent job for Amazon.

Hook A Duck Sidestall

Hook A Duck Hire
Hook A Duck Hire

Possibly the simplest game ever. Catch a duck to win. If you need to make it harder then we can mark some of the ducks as winners to reduce the odds. This is ideal for the kids but tends to be a bit simple for most adults.

Ball In A Bucket Sidestall

Ball In A Bucket Games Hire
Ball In A Bucket Games Hire

This one adds a bit of skill into the mix, on the surface its quite simple, throw a ball into the bucket. However the catch is, the ball needs to stop in, harder than it sounds.

Mini Basketball Sidestall

Basketball Funfair Game Hire
Basketball Funfair Game Hire

One of our more upto date games, throw a mini basketball into the hoop. If you want it a little harder make it 2 out of 3.

Coconut Shie Sidestall

Coconut Shie
Coconut Shie

Another of the olde tyme favourites, knock a coconut off with a wooden ball. On some traditional fairgrounds the coconuts would be made out of either wood or metal painted to look like wood. Ours are actual coconuts so you have a chance of winning.

Splat The Rat Sidestall

Branded Splat The Rat
Branded Splat The Rat

This one is a little different to the others. More of a traditional village game, it is oh so simple to play, but fiendishly difficult to win. The operator drops a toy rat down the drainpipe, as it shoots out of one pipe into the other you need to whack it with the bat. Thing is rats don’t really like being whacked. So as a result they move fast, like a, well, like a rat down a drainpipe. So you need to move like Jason Bourne to actually hit one.

Cans Off The Shelf

Tin Can Alley
Tin Can Alley

One of our harder games. Easy in concept, you just knock the cans off the shelf. But due to the weight of the cans, and the lightness of the balls, you need to really wind up and throw.

Ball In A Milk Churn

Amazon Branded Ball In A Milk Churn
Amazon Branded Ball In A Milk Churn

These fall in the mid range for difficulty. You just need to throw one of the baseballs into the top of the churn. We can adjust the throwing distance to make it easier or harder.

Covid Secure

Sanitisation Station
Sanitisation Station

In line with the current situation we are all dealing with, all of our stalls come with hand sanitisation stations attached, allowing the players to ensure they remain safe from the virus. Additionally all of the surfaces on the stalls are treated with Zoono, 30 day anti microbial treatment, which actively destroys the virus on contact. This is to ensure that sidestall hire is offered safely for your event.

Event Planning, Fun Story

Common Scams On Funfair Games

10 August 2020
corner gun

To be fair, most of these aren’t actual scams. A lot of them rely on people not actually reading the instructions. When I learnt to fly I had 9 written exams to take, and as I walked into the room for the first one, my instructor said “RTFQ”. Now I was once told that becoming a pilot, was learning lots of acronyms and learning how to manage a hangover. I had learnt the acronyms by that point but RTFQ was a new one. Turned out to be ‘Read The Fu***NG Questions’! Seems a lot of students rushed the exam and lost points simply for not understanding the paper. And I still have trouble with hangovers. So read on to learn about some of the common scams on funfair games.

This is more of a misconception than a scam. Anyone that shoots regularly, would spend time setting up the gun to suit both his requirements and the range they were shooting at. Guns on the gallery tend to be left set up the way they came out of the box.

A lot think that the sights are off or the barrel bent. Hmm, a bent barrel doesn’t fire round corners, it tends not to fire at all as the pellet gets stuck. As to the sights being set off, some operators do that. Thing is anyone who knows how to shoot would simply fire the first shot, see which way the pellet was off, and adjust their aim accordingly. Anyone who doesn’t know how to shoot will miss, regardless of where the sights are set to.

corner gun
corner gun


You know this game, you have to throw the ring over a wooden block with a prize on, if the ring goes completely over the block and lays flat on the table you win the prize.

Now, the first problem here, is that people don’t read the instructions, they think all you need to do is get the ring over the prize. Something Stevie Wonder could probably manage. They are seldom happy once you explain why they can’t have that expensive computer game they have just told their kid they won.

Another oft heard complaint, is “The rings don’t fit over the block.” Very quickly disproved as the game operator will demonstrate they do fit.

Where the scam comes into it, if that is the right word. Is that the blocks containing the lower value prizes, perhaps a box of chocolates or small teddy. Are actually slightly smaller than the ones with the big ticket items. You can actually win on any of them, but are far more likely to be successful on the cheap stuff.

One tip is to spin the ring as you throw it, if it catches the prize right it will tend to keep spinning and work its way down and around the block.


The darts used tend to be cheap, disposable type darts, with the tips blunted. To get them to stick in the board you will need to use more force than normal and that will affect you accuracy, though most of the professional operators will actually let you use your own darts, to stave off any claims of impropriety.

A common game is bust the balloon. A board full of balloons and all you need to do is bust one with a dart, easy peasy right. Sadly harder than you think. The darts are slightly blunt, and the balloons being only partially inflated have enough give to shrug off most darts hitting them.

Bust A Balloon Game
Bust A Balloon Game

Pick A Ticket

In earlier years, this tended to consist of a guy (or girl) holding a basket full of sealed tickets or spinning a tombola. You paid your money, picked your tickets out, opened them, and usually found you had a fist full of losers.

Trouble is, no one would put the winning tickets in a basket. It was just too random. Sods law would dictate that when the fair was full and you wanted someone to win, no one ever did. Just as the fair was closing for the night and was pretty much deserted, someone would have a last go and win the star prize.

Eventually the Dutch system was imported. This consisted of tickets with various numbers on. To win your numbers had to add up to 21. You could play multiple times and keep your tickets to make the magic number. Thing is, you needed an odd number to win, and these were in short supply.

However, in this game, the ‘dealer’ has packets of tickets pre prepared. He knows which packets have winning tickets in so can control when someone wins. You tend to find winners come thick and fast just as a crowd is beginning to form. Once there is a large crowd playing the game then winners come out at regular intervals to keep them interested, but it is a pretty well controlled stream of winners.

Win Me If You Lose

This is one which definitely falls into the RTFQ bracket.

What happens is you see a stall with massive prizes, and large signs saying you get me if you lose. So you rush over pays your £2, cos this is a no brainer, that big teddy must be worth £50 retail, and its only gonna cost me two quid.

You throw your darts, add the numbers up and yay, you are a winner. As you sit back basking in the glory of showing your friends you are one of life’s winners, the girl in the stall hands you a keyring.

WTF. Before you explode you should really read the rules. You do in fact get the super big teddy if you lose. Trouble is you haven’t lost. The sign doesn’t say that winners get better prizes than losers. All the operator has done really, is swapped the scores around. To actually lose the game is very very difficult. SO virtually everyone wins, and gets the little prize.

The thing to bear in mind is basic common sense. No business can afford to continually swap £2 for £50 prizes. If it looks too good to be true, then it is most certainly going to be.

A variation on this are games like the hook a duck stall. You rarely win the big prize, but you can save your smaller wins up and exchange them. You really do need to work out how much something is going to cost you before you get carried away in the excitement of the day.

Genuine Games

There are many games on the fairground that give you the chance to win large prizes, but you must expect them to be difficult, or need a decent level of skill. At the end of the day, the stalls are all small businesses, and to stay in business they must take more money than the prizes, rent, fuel, insurance etc cost. So as a rule the bigger the prize, the harder it is to win. A walk around any major fair such as say Hull fair or Nottingham Goose fair, will see dozens of people carrying huge prizes, so it is possible to win them, but just use a little common sense.

If you want to hire funfair games without the scam, no probs, get in touch.