When the coronavirus made it impossible for our beloved fairs and festivals to go on as planned, it became obvious that flexible and creative solutions would be necessary. The Virtual County Fair was born out of this necessity. These virtual fairs are coming in a variety of looks. Virtual Competitions, Drive-Thru food experiences, individual visits to the fairgrounds, watching concerts or performances virtually, or attempting to recreate fair experiences at home. Grandstand Apps has been able to help provide tools for our clients who are stretching their creativity to reach those who are missing the fair experience.
For some, fairs are focusing on their youngest participants: 4-H and FFA. Many county fairs and 4-H programs that we work with are using a method of uploading photos and displaying them for all to see. As a result, the use of digital projects became a key ingredient in setting up a new way of experiencing the fair. Competitors can upload images of their projects for judging and displaying using the survey tool. In addition, if you are using third-party tools like FlipGrid, you can provide links directly from the app to help participants easily access information.
If your fair is doing a hybrid approach, as many have chosen, it means some competitions & livestock shows remain on the in-person schedule. These schedules are changing, keep your participants up to date with the latest in load-in times, show times, and more with a schedule for your fair. As you edit the dates & times note on the title of the event “EDITED” or something similar. Include any links to pre-registration info and edit the info regularly to keep the instruction current.
For those events that are virtual only, you might include the links to the live videos, or if they are pre-recorded, integrate the YouTube video directly in the app. A page of videos or links to videos will help your participants and their families & friends access their entries more easily. Organizing the information for your participants is key in encouraging engagement.
As changes are being made to the fair grounds itself, flow for the shows and ares of contact will certainly be changed as well. As this happens, maps will be important. If you have a map of your grounds that is drawn to scale and shows how these flows have changed, share them with us and we can place it right over the native maps in the app. So your pins for locations stay in place. We can also add info to the map pins themselves sharing changes that have happened as a result of making room for distancing.
We have found other technologies that integrate well with Grandstand’s apps. One such tool is Matterport, a spatial data company focused on digitizing and indexing the built world. Basically that means you take their camera equipment or your iPhone and take digital photos of a space. The software then creates a 3-D image of the area. Think those virtual open houses of new homes you might view. We can integrate these 3-D images into Grandstand to allow a new way for your visitors to see your fair! Create virtual scavenger hunts through your grounds and many more fun ways to use the spaces. Or if you do have booths set up, allow those stuck at home a way to browse through the displayed entries.
See our recent article on how to integrate Matterport into your page on our Blog.
The Sonoma-Marin Fair, in Petaluma, Calif., was an all-virtual fair this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. to continue to offer fair-related fun and activities for families, the fair came up with a schedule of activities to match the fair’s planned theme days. Grandstand used the schedule they provided to list each day: