FairPaperwrk

The last two weeks I’ve been spending significant hours on the computer getting ready for the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. I’m the “Assistant Dog Barn Superintendent”, which means nothing, except that I’ve been unanimously elected to take over in the rare event that my mother, the Dog Barn Superintendent, should get hit by a truck. Unanimously, because nobody else wants to take over her duties. I’m not sure if I, or anyone else, could effectively cover for her anyway!

What I do contribute is some major data processing for all of the several hundred entries that need to be managed in the 4-H dog project over the eleven-day fair.

Years ago (maybe 12 years ago??) I wrote an Access database to handle this, and have been adding to it ever since. Not only does the database spit out schedules, it processes a bunch of math for all sorts of award calculations, and helps figure out which members qualify for State Fair in Puyallup. The photo illustrates the stack of schedules, state fair entry forms, and scoresheet labels that are spit out of our database.

This year was different, in that the fairgrounds graduated from paper entries to using an online entry system called ShoWorks. So, I needed to switch to importing data exported from ShoWorks, rather than hand-entering data from paper entry forms. In general, this was a good thing; but not without its glitches. I’m pretty sure I spent less time on fair prep this year, compared to previous years.

Next year should see big improvements, after we’re able to spend some time customizing our entry forms to suit our data needs better. Some other fair barns have been slower to embrace the new technology.

Incidentally, my to-be-consumed list of fair food (at the very least): Piroshky (both beef and salmon varieties), Purple Cow, Gyro,  scones with coffee, funnel cakes, and possibly an elephant ear.

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