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Illinois state fair goes digital

Illinois state fair goes digital

By Andi Anderson

The Illinois State Fair has taken a significant step into the digital age by moving its livestock exhibitor registration process online.

This new system, powered by the ShoWorks platform, marks a departure from the traditional paper entries, allowing for a more streamlined and user-friendly experience.

Jerry Costello II, the director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, emphasized the goal of the transition. "Our priority is to make the process more efficient for our livestock exhibitors," he stated, highlighting the focus on simplifying participation for all involved.

ShoWorks offers several benefits that enhance the registration experience. Exhibitors can now create, view, and check in their entries all on one platform.

The ShoWorks passport program allows exhibitors to reuse entries from other events, further adding to the convenience.

Rebecca Clark, manager of the Illinois State Fair, shared insights into the decision-making process. "An internal committee of Illinois State Fair staff worked together to find the best method for moving entries online," Clark said.

The committee ultimately selected ShoWorks for its user-friendly interface and its ability to meet the fair’s comprehensive needs, including administrative, technological, and physical demands.

"The move to ShoWorks will streamline and modernize the process for livestock exhibitor registration," Clark explained.

The platform is set to encompass all events featured in the livestock premium book and may eventually expand to include non-livestock projects like the junior horse show and general exhibits.

Recognizing the potential challenges of adopting a new system, Clark noted, "We’re excited for this, but recognize there could be some growing pains with trying something new." The plan is to start with a small implementation before expanding to other areas.

For those needing assistance with the new system, the fair has provided resources such as a step-by-step tutorial on the fair’s competitive events page. A kiosk station has been established in the competitive events office inside the Emmerson Building on the fairgrounds, where exhibitors can get help in person or over the phone during office hours.

With a deadline of July 15 for submissions, which is later than the usual July 1 deadline, exhibitors have additional time to familiarize themselves with the new online system.

This change eliminates the waiting period for mail-in entries, further enhancing the efficiency of the registration process.

Photo Credit: illinois-state-fair

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Categories: Illinois, General, Livestock

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