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FLORIDA FAIR NEWS CONTINUED…...………..……………………………………….. A Virtual Reorganization

Of The Broward County Fair S

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b itd b ai rcsn aae, Bo ad Cut ar We are on the cutting edge in the Fair business. The Bro-

ward Fair has always had that distinction in the Florida Fair business. It is largely because of the Broward Fair that we have ride safety legislation to protect the public, following a tragic ride accident in 1997. We were ranked the 50th- largest Fair in the country 20-some years ago, before that accident. We are also the only Fair in the state, from what I’ve been told, that does not have a permanent fairground. We may have been the Fair with the smallest attendance in 2009, with only some agricultural displays, contests and educational exhibits in a mall setting visited by a few thou- sand guests over five days. We have been at the height of success and looked up to, and we have recently been at the bottom of the valley and looked down upon. In June 2010, longtime Fair leader Ina Nadler passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer while also leading us in a new direction with a new Fair site in Pembroke Pines, FL. And now I am lucky enough to lead the Broward Fair into

the future. In early August 2010, less than four months before our planned dates, I was contracted as the Fair Manager by a Board of Directors whom I have known per- sonally for almost 30 years, and who know that I have been solution-oriented in whatever I’ve been involved in. I was the young kid at the Fair, with a lot of energy to do things, and managed to stay involved in the event business as a direct result of the Broward County Fair. Over the past 30 years, I have found that every relationship I’ve ever made counts, and I am calling on a whole community of people to do things to restore this Fair to what it should be in this community. We are a brand-new Fair from top to bottom. Some board members resigned and were replaced with new directors with fresh new ideas. Dedicated mem- bers who had quietly drifted away in recent years are back and reenergized and working on projects to create success. My real challenge as the new manager was getting my

hands around the scope of the project to fully understand the job. While old records were available, current informa- tion was lacking at all levels. Existing computers were old and dusty and not running properly. The server is question- able. Quickbooks 99 was working just fine, on a computer also from the last century. As I got further into this proc- ess, I kept thinking about streamlining the methods and the abundant technology we have available. And I started talking to my contacts who know… HOW TO TRULY BECOME A VIRTUAL FAIR… I’m lucky to know some of the right people, including one

invaluable IT expert, one young techno wizard who special- izes in VOIP (Internet telephone solutions) and one individ- ual with extensive knowledge of online payment systems. And then there’s my old friend, which


helped me find some very capable staff to run the organ- izational tasks of the Fair. A $25 ad for an office manager led me to a graphic artist, a future lawyer, a manager who could do any of several jobs, a twitter expert, a Spanish language translator and two students pursuing master’s degrees for sponsor coordination and volunteer organiza- tion. The “ALL NEW BROWARD COUNTY FAIR” came to life

with a new look from our graphic artist and the new ener- gies of some great people who are challenged to succeed. We have held weekly community meetings, placed a great emphasis on agriculture as a core belief in who we are, and embraced available technology. Some technology accom- plishments include: DOMAINS – The address is

being retired from public use and replaced with the more user-friendly We are an ORG not a .com and that is part of our message to the community and membership. WEBSITE – The existing website has been updated, reor-

ganized and greatly improved in both its look and accessi- bility of information. Category buttons activated with farm animal sounds on our home page deliver a fun and educa- tional message about the Fair. I’ve used the rooster sound to wake up my kids a few times this past month. E-MAIL AND WEB HOSTING – In setting up the new do-

main, we’ve created a string of e-mail accounts so we can filter information to certain people directly. The public can find information or a specific individual quickly on the web- site. Our former web host charged us for monthly over- ages, but we are now at a $150 annual unlimited host. E- mail addresses are made for contests, departments and individuals that are directed to them in an instant. GOOGLEDOCS AND CALENDAR - Our document storage

will not be on a hard drive but “in the clouds.” GoogleDocs has a service for storing documents in its server system that provides free full access to a 501(c)3 ORG. Every non -financial file we need will be accessible 24/7 from any computer by any staff or board member. We are schedul- ing every Fair event on the Google calendar with alerts to the appropriate people. PREMIUM ENTRIES – Our website is a tool that we are

driving traffic to for all information, especially our contests. Judges can read entries online that have been uploaded to our GoogleDocs link, with the teachers responsible for printing the entries for display at Fair time. Online entries are saving us paper, and plenty of time. FACEBOOK – We created a page that is up to 200 friends

as of this writing, and growing. Our teen volunteers will earn service hours for working in our office answering phones, performing basic tasks and Facebooking with their friends about the Fair. The teenagers will be driving fami- lies to attend the Fair, and we already have 100 teen vol- unteers signed up.

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