Cotton Candy Machine: Rental item of the week

Large fluffy pile of blue and pink cotton candy

Welcome to Rental item of the week, where every Thursday Bouncer Rental NW highlights pros and cons of a different rental item. We provide an in-depth review and suggestions on how to incorporate the rental into your next event. Our goal is to inspire event planners to be creatively bold and move outside the normal event scope. 

Cotton Candy machines are our most popular concessions rental. They can be picked up by customers, delivered, and even staffed. They are a wildly popular choice for school carnivals and birthday parties.  This sweet treat is known for its pink or blue colors (vanilla and blueberry), but can be ordered in several other flavors including lime, watermelon, strawberry, bubblegum, apple, banana, cherry, and more.

The act of making cotton candy can be viewed as more of an art than it is a science. Any individual is capable of creating cotton candy, but getting it to look like pink treat you see in the movies can be very challenging and requires quite a bit of practice. Most cotton candy is gathered out of the machine using a paper cone. The best practice for gathering is to rotate the cone while moving it around the outside of the collecting ring. By rolling the cone in your hand like you were having it travel around the ring, you are able to collect a fairly substantial amount of the sugar product. Moving methodically will allow the candy to gather evenly, making it look nice and fluffy. After there is enough treat on the stick, it is suggested that the cotton candy be placed in a bag face town, with the handle of the cone poking out of the top. By grabbing both corners of the bag and flipping it around a few times, you can seal off the top and trap air in the bag. This keeps the cotton candy fluffy and prevents it from being squished before consumption.

If you choose to switch flavor of cotton candy and are only using one machine, you can simply add the other flavor on top of the existing one. This will create a brief period where the floss coming out of the machine will be mixed (i.e. pink and blue will create purple cotton candy). Once all of the previous flavor has been used and is out of the machine, the next color will start.

While all of this work can be done by anyone, Is there a preference to hire staff to operate the rental? There are a few things to consider when deciding on staffing for cotton candy. First, is there a person that can be dedicated to making the dessert during your whole event? At a corporate event, the answer is probably ‘no’, while at a school carnival, there will typically be a large number of parent volunteers that can spend their time laboring over cooked sugar. The other thing to consider is how nice you want the end product to look. A staff member from our event planning company is much more likely to produce beautiful, fluffy, pink, cotton candy than a chunky deformed rock of sugar.

If your event is a fundraiser or non-profit that needs to make back some of the costs for hosting the event, cotton candy can be used to help offset costs. One carton of product makes around 60 servings that can be sold for three to five dollars each. Even at the low end that means one carton can produce $160 in profit after offsetting for the cost of the carton.  This rental can easily cover it’s own costs in addition to offsetting some of the cost the rest of the event incurs.

There are other elegant options for presenting and using cotton candy. It is not necessary to just hand out giant amounts. You can use cotton candy as a garnish on beverages or on top of various desserts.  It could even be used a decoration on an elaborate dessert display. If your event is outdoors, you need to be mindful of the rain. Cotton Candy melts on contact with water. If your event is out doors in the Seattle area, make sure to rent a canopy.

Cotton candy is loved by many and disliked by few. Providing such a delicious experience at your next occasion will certainly aid in the production of a memorable event.


Seattle School Carnivals: 2014 Planning Edition

Mechanical Tilted Swing ride at an awesome carnival!

Seattle School District’s last day of school is June 19th. Prior to releasing students for the summer, most schools choose to hold a School Carnival to celebrate the end of the year with some fun. Last year, we focused on planning carnival rentals, so this year we are going to focus more on individual options for those rentals. Seattle School District has cracked down harder on their ‘no inflatable policy’, so alternative options are more important than ever. Over the years, we have increased our selection of non-inflatable rentals specifically to provide more options for school carnivals. Let’s highlight a few of the best options;

Carnival Challenge Games

These challenging carnival games are the perfect addition or replacement to any existing rented inflatables your school might have.  Carnival game rentals can range from Classic Ring Toss to new wacky variations such as the Cow Milking Competition.  Carnival challenge games have the added benefit of rewarding participants with prizes when they accomplish the given task.  PTAs love the incredible value that carnival games offer, with rental prices typically allowing three or four games in place of one inflatable. The addition of a variety of games is guaranteed to add a great level of depth to your event and the kids will love all the different options.

Mouth-Watering Concessions

Make the Carnival Experience real by adding the sweet and salty flavors of a true big-top experience.  Concession rentals are easy enough to rent, use, and return so you don’t have to worry about the high purchase price of the machines. Kids go crazy for cotton candy and the snack will keep their spirits and energy high for the whole carnival.  If you prefer salty over sweet, rental popcorn machines are always a great healthier alternative.  The benefits of renting concession machines go beyond cost savings, there is the added ‘no-hassle’ clause that means you don’t have to clean the machine prior to returning it. The cleaning service is included in the cost of the rental. If you are looking for ways to monetize your school carnival to offset the cost or raise money, selling concessions for a few dollars each can cover the cost of the rental and then some.

Water Wizardry

No school carnival is complete without soaking your principal in the dunk tank! Unfortunately, dunk tanks fall under risk managements definition of dangerous due to the risk of drowning. Fortunately there are several awesome dunk tank alternatives. Our favorite dunk tank alternative is the Splash Blast. This highly portable unit soaks the participant almost as thoroughly as a true dunk tank. It makes an impressive noise and show of water sprays when the target is hit.  There are a few other risk-management approved water rental options that you can learn more about, but we highly recommend the Splash Blast. Of course, with Seattle’s weather, you might not even need a water attraction!

Mechanical Mayhem

True carnivals have true carnival rides. We call these spinning, moving, and swinging contraptions mechanical rides.  Surprisingly, because the ride experience is controlled and participants are strapped in, most of these options are permitted at school carnivals.  By having a large mechanical ride at your Seattle school carnival you are providing an experience that won’t be forgotten any time soon. Kid’s will remember the mechanical ride year after year and expect it to be back; so once you commit, plan on having a motorized attraction every year. The most budget conscious and popular ride is the Tubs Of Fun with it’s teacup like experience it’s not far off from the real thing.

If you need any assistance picking safe, allowable options don’t hesitate to get help planning your Seattle School Carnival.  Remember to book early as dates fill up quickly and equipment gets snatched up.  We look forward to seeing the best school carnivals ever in 2014!