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What is Big Saturday?

After a two-year hiatus, Big Saturday is back! While Big Saturday is one of the school’s longest traditions in its 59th year and one of the Parents’ Association’s biggest fundraisers, some of our newer families have never experienced this special, carnival-like community event. What exactly is Big Saturday? When was the first one?

Amanda Stauffer and Erin Cook, this year’s Big Saturday co-chairs, share everything you need to know about this incredible event and answer commonly asked questions.

First, the History of Big Saturday

The first official Big Saturday was held on Cannon Campus during the 1960–61 school year under the leadership of Mrs. Toy, president of the Parents’ Council. Founded by Bobby Cannon, the event raised $3,200 for the school and featured a selection of bargains, along with elementary sports meets and the fathers’ baseball game. From the first, Big Saturday was a model for school community spirit and camaraderie. A range of merchandise, donated by contributors, included homemade split-pea soup, jams, toys, and jewelry—even dogs were raffled! The success of the first Big Saturday helped purchase benches, water fountains, bleachers, and a flagpole.

What exactly is Big Saturday?

Big Saturday is much more than a carnival. In addition to lots of rides, games, and prizes, Big Saturday also includes an impressive Art Pop-Up Sale, Bucs Bakery, Talent Show, and a car raffle. Among various food options, a highlight and community favorite is the International Food Pavilion, which offers an incredible selection of food from around the world and prepared by our own international families! Big Saturday is truly a multi-dimensional event with something for everyone. 

Are the rides appropriate for all ages? 

There are games appropriate for all ages—from preschool and Lower School ages, to even the older Middle School kids! All the younger age group games and activities are held in Bruton Smith Athletic Center. The field includes rides and large inflatables mainly for the older students, but a few are designed for our younger ones. The Crazy Slide is a crowd favorite for all ages and the Dunk Tank is a best-loved among the Middle School age group. New this year: Ninja Wall inflatable, 3-Lane Bungee Run, and the mighty High Striker, a great classic carnival game! All ages are welcome and will find plenty of fun activities.  

What food is available for purchase?

Come to Big Saturday hungry! There are plenty of food options available. The International Food Pavilion has an outstanding variety of food representing 14 different countries. All the food is donated and prepared by 55 Country Day international parents. This year’s menu is incredible and features many chefs that are contributing for the first time. The Bucs Café offers hot dogs, hamburgers, Chick-fil-A, and Domino’s pizza. For desserts and sweets, stop by the Bucs Bakery for home-baked goods, Kona Ice and Dippin’ Dots for a yummy treat, and carnival favorites such as cotton candy and frozen lemonade! 

What do parents need to know before they go to Big Saturday? 

  • Tickets. Tickets are required for all games, rides, activities, and even some food. If you purchased pre-tickets in March, they’ll be delivered to your child’s classroom/advisory the week of April 25 (don’t forget to bring them to Big Saturday!). Tickets are available for purchase at five ticket booths throughout campus at Big Saturday. New this year, credit cards are accepted at all ticket booths! There are some location changes due to the evolving campus, but what a great way to see our beautiful campus and new spaces!
  • Talent Show. Encourage your child to sign up for the Talent Show, a fun, non-competitive event and opportunity for kids of all ages to showcase their talents! 
  • T-Shirt Day. Remind your children to wear their Big Saturday T-shirts to school on Thursday, April 28.
  • Car Raffle Tickets. Don’t miss your chance of winning a car at Big Saturday. Buy your tickets today! Plus, your children get to win great prizes, too! 

Can parents get involved and volunteer? 

Absolutely! Lower and Middle School parents are encouraged to volunteer at their class/advisory booths (Middle School parents can sign-up here and Lower School parents can sign up through the e-mail they received from their individual classroom parents). Other volunteer opportunities:
•    Sign-up to send in a baked good for the Bucs Bakery.
•    Sign-up to volunteer at the Art Pop-Up Sale or work as a cashier/check-out volunteer.

As a Country Day alumna, what’s your favorite memory of going to Big Saturday as a student?

Amanda Stauffer ’94: My first Big Saturday was in 1981. My brother was in first grade, and I was starting kindergarten in the fall. Big Saturday was on the Lower School side of campus at the time and each class booth was right outside of the classroom. Over the years, Big Saturday has truly evolved into a school-wide event. My mom used to make personalized beach towels families could preorder. Our dining room was taken over for months by the towels and letters she’d cut out and sew onto each towel! That’s one of the reasons why I was excited to help co-chair Big Saturday—my mom was involved for so many years and I remember how much fun it was for our family! 

What makes Big Saturday so special and such a big success?

We’re especially proud that for the first time, all five parent volunteer groups are contributing to Big Saturday: Friends of the Arts (FOTA) is coordinating the Art Pop-Up Sale and book signing with art collector and author Patrick Diamond, POCIS is running the Talent Show, International Parent Group is coordinating the International Food Pavilion, Boosters Club is taking charge of the Bucs Café, and the Parents’ Association is key in planning and coordinating all aspects of the big day! The coming together and year-long efforts of several hundred committee members and parent volunteers, and the support and participation of many families and faculty and staff is what makes this community event a success! None of it could happen without the amazing and wonderful Plant Operations team!

Big Saturday Events and Activities