Anyone who has ever attended a carnival, circus, or county fair has seen a dunk tank.  The “victim” sits on a seat over a large tank of water, and a target is provided.  Guests playing the game will throw a ball at the target, and if they are able to strike it, the seat will tip or drop, dunking the person seated there.  These tanks are a fun game for children and adults, and they are perfect for use at a party, picnic, or carnival.

Dunk tanks are also excellent for fundraising.  When you use a dunk tank to raise money, you simply charge a small fee to participants for a chance to dunk the victim.  This is one reason they are often included at town or county fairs; they offer the town or county an opportunity to raise money for public projects.  If you are running a corporate money, you could have your attendees vote on a charity beforehand for all proceeds to go toward.  Non-profit organizations often use dunk tanks for this purpose as well.  Even if you are not trying to raise any money at your event, a dunk tank is still a very fun attraction to include.

How to assemble your dunk tank depends on the model you are renting.  The steps can differ depending on the type of tank, but most of them can be assembled very quickly with only a few short set-up steps.  While they are one of the larger games you can get for your carnival, you will probably be surprised by how portable and easy to use they are.  Once you have assembled your dunk tank, run a test to make sure that it is working properly.  You want it to be ready to go when your guests start arriving.

You will also need to choose some people to participate in the dunking.  If you are running the event just for fun, it doesn’t matter much who you choose.  If you want to use the dunk tank as part of a fundraiser, you might put some extra though into it.  In general, there are several rules as far as dunking success goes:

  • People in dry clothes tend to draw more participants than those who are already wet.  There is something especially satisfying about dunking someone who is not yet wet.  So if you have only a couple of volunteers, make sure that they have a couple changes of clothing ready.
  • Clothing can be selected which adds humor value to a dunking situation.  For example, if you are running a corporate party, one surefire way to get people to participate in the dunking tank would be to have someone show up in full business attire to be dunked—not a swimsuit or something else casual.  If you really want to make the dunking tank popular, choose a volunteer who employees are likely to take pleasure in dunking—like a boss, manager, or accountant.
  • Think about your audience when you select attire if you are one of the volunteers, and advise any other volunteers you are working with to do the same.  If you are dunking for a church fundraiser, for example, a scantily clad woman in a swimsuit probably would not be appropriate.  In another setting, it would not only be appropriate, but would probably draw more crowds—and more money for a fundraiser.  Use common sense.
  • Observe other dunking etiquette rules.  The volunteer is free to taunt the dunkers, but should not insult them.  Giving the volunteer a squirt gun is great for motivation, but they should only target participants.  Be kind to children, and let them push the button if they miss.  The victim of the dunk should also be willing to be submerged completely, and should wave underwater if there’s a window.

Dunk tanks are a fun and timeless tradition at carnivals, county and town fairs, parties of all sorts, and fundraising events.  They are ideal for summertime, and can offer a great time to children and adults.  Getting the best results with a dunk tank does require some planning and forethought, as well as etiquette and common sense, but you can be sure that your guests will love every minute of dunk tank fun!