By Shaley Dehner, Weld County Communications Specialist, Photos courtesy of Kimberly Sterkel
Kimberly Sterkel, Weld County 4-H Youth Development Agent, has been involved with the Weld County Fair for nine years. And in those nine years, there have been evolutions in technology related to the fair. One of the major ones, is how people enter into the fair.
“A general thing that has transitioned quite a bit over time, technology-wise, is the way that people enter into the fair,” she said. “Previously, it was paper forms – the yellow forms in the fair books – which are still used.”
The Extension Office still gets a handful of paper entry forms turned in each year but a significant drop in receiving these forms lead to the office switching to an online program as a more efficient and convenient way to receive entries.
“That’s just a general trend in our population, most people are transitioning to using online technologies,” Sterkel explained.
Since 2008, the Weld County Fair has been using an online program called ShoWorks. Essentially, everything is set up in the online program to mirror what is found in that year’s fair book. When someone logs on to the website, they will be prompted to select which class they are showing in or which exhibition they are competing in. Then information for each will be collected.
The newest technology the Weld County Fair is utilizing in 2018 is paperless check in. When exhibitors receive a confirmation after they are done entering into the fair, they will be given a QR code.
“This code will be scanned and their account will be brought up on an iPad,” Sterkel said. “This is primarily for the open class exhibits, family and consumer science and table-top displays.” Sterkel further explained that an entrant may plan to enter three or four things but only brings one to the fair. Therefore, the entrant would check the one exhibit in using the iPad and immediately receive a printed entry tag, which is then attached to the exhibit.
The iPads are also being used to get real-time results.
“Say a judge is reviewing the Beef Show. Once classes are done, they just give placings right on the iPad, which get sent to the cloud and downloaded into the fair’s record systems,” she explained. This streamlines things for fair personnel because what they have had to do prior is hand write in placings on a judging sheet.
Weld County Fair has had to adapt to the changing technologies over the past 100 years. And the use of paperless check in and online entry technologies will allow the fair to continue evolving for 100 more years.