The following message was sent to all FairEntry customers on Monday, April 6, 2020:
The global coronavirus pandemic is a human tragedy that is affecting all of our families, businesses, communities, and our way of life. As the number of affected families and individuals continues to rise, our spring and summer plans are now in question. For many, this may be the first time in decades that you will not be able to host a County Fair or annual event. This challenging time is something that none of us could have ever predicted. Our hearts go out to all of you who are making those difficult decisions and to all of your exhibitors and families who will be affected by those decisions.
We know that ideally, it is everyone's hope that this pandemic will be well behind us before our summer events. However, being realistic, we understand that we may need to make adjustments for this year. This is why our team has made the decision to focus our attention and development on providing a platform for our customers to host an e-fair. While an e-fair would not be anyone's first choice for running a fair or show, we hope to help you provide an option, a "Plan B", for your exhibitors to look forward to and give them an incentive to use these days of quarantine for something constructive (i.e. working on projects for the fair). It may be that announcing your plans for an e-fair, if you are unable to host your traditional fair, will give your exhibitors a sense of purpose and stability.
To assist all of our customers with hosting an e-fair, we are opening up the file upload and photo judging features to ALL fairs. Up to this point, only fairs on the Regular plan and above have had the option to upload pictures and documents with their entries. For the 2020 Fair Season, anyone on any FairEntry plan (including the Starter Plan) may use the file upload and photo judging features. If you are on the Starter Plan, these features are ready to go in your account and you may begin using them right away.
Secondly, we understand that the Auction/Sale is a vital part of many of your fairs and shows. The development team has turned their full attention to developing an online auction feature. This will allow buyers to log in to their accounts from home and enter their bids and add-ons. We will share more details as this feature is developed.
With these tools in place, here are some ideas to help you host an e-fair/show:
1. Entries - allow your participants to submit their entries online and upload pictures of their projects and animals, eliminating the need for face-to-face contact. They can also upload any project information forms (goals, what they learned, etc) that may be required for judging. You can also create custom questions to schedule times for them to meet with a judge via phone or video call to complete judging interviews. Because many participants may not be able to take a picture of their entries until closer to the fair, you may need to extend your entry deadline a little longer than usual. Allowing exhibitors to pay entry fees via credit card will eliminate the need for entry approval and make the entry process faster. The shorter period between closing entries and beginning judging should not be difficult to accommodate if you are not able to set up buildings, print tags, prepare stalls, etc.
2. Judging - set up staff accounts for each of your judges and assign permissions for the Departments/Divisions/Classes that they will be judging. Your judges simply need to provide you with their email address and the system will automatically send them an email with their login information as soon as you set up their account. The judges may log in to their accounts from home, view the pictures of the entries and enter the results.
3. Share the Results - turn on the Public Results page and share the link with all of your participants on your website or your preferred social media outlet.
4. Pay Premiums - after all of your results are entered, finalize your budgets and print your premium checks. FairEntry even creates the mailing labels for you so you can put those checks in the mail right away.
5. For those of you who have an auction, you will be able to create your Sale Order, as usual. Your buyers will create their accounts and when you set the auction to begin, they will be able to login, view the results and pictures of the entry and bid on each animal/item. They can also add their add-ons to each of their preferred items. When the auction is over, the winning bids will be recorded.
6. Collect payment from your buyers and print your exhibitors' checks.
The FairEntry team is here to help. We wholeheartedly understand that an e-fair/show is less than ideal. You may not be able to offer as many classes as you do at your traditional fair. Your premium amounts may be less than usual, if you have those funds available at all. Your buyers may not be able to contribute as much as they would under normal circumstances. However, you can still provide your exhibitors with something to look forward to if the situation does not turn around as quickly as we all hope. As the new online auction features are developed, we will be posting help documentation and videos in the help center (http://fairentry.zendesk.com) to help you with the process. We will also include the new online auction process in our bi-weekly Sale training webinar. If you have questions about how to make changes to your fair or how to coordinate an e-fair, please do not hesitate to contact our team (firstname.lastname@example.org). Furthermore, we would love to hear your ideas for how to transition to an e-fair. This would also be a great time for you to connect with neighboring fairs (via phone or video chat) who may be using FairEntry to brainstorm ideas of how you can have a successful virtual event. You can find a list of Fairs in your state who are using FairEntry by going to www.fairentry.com, click on "Find Your Fair."
Finally, our team wants to say thank you. Thank you to all of the brave individuals who are working tirelessly to care for those in need. Thank you to our healthcare providers who are putting their lives at risk to care for those who are sick. Thank you to our government officials for spending countless hours putting together plans and legislation to keep our nation strong amid this crisis. Thank you to the business owners who are giving sacrificially to help their communities. Thank you to each of you for doing what you can to keep your family and community safe, strong and connected. Together, we can still "make the best better" and the show can go on (even if it requires a little flexibility and creativity).
The FairEntry Team
P.S. If you are not a current FairEntry customer and would like to schedule a time for a FairEntry demo so you can host an e-fair, please click here to schedule a demo with our team.