Onshore America
Red, white and blue Ferris wheel.


This case study revolves around a volunteer-led county fair management organization facing challenges in efficiently handling 400 vendors and their requirements for each annual event. With limited resources, they initially sought assistance in enhancing their spreadsheet operations. The organization partnered with our team, and we successfully improved their spreadsheet system. However, the organization soon realized the need for more sophisticated solutions. Through iterative meetings and effective communication, we transformed their spreadsheet into a comprehensive fair management system, complete with interactive mapping, billing capabilities, and communication features. The final result empowered the small fair group with the tools of a professional event management system.


The predominant volunteer-led county fair management organization confronted several challenges in efficiently handling the vendor information and event logistics. Their primary pain points were:

  1. Spreadsheet Overload: The organization relied on a single spreadsheet to manage all vendor data, which quickly became overwhelming and prone to errors.
  2. Limited Budget: With limited financial resources, the organization struggled to afford sophisticated software solutions.
  3. Inefficiency in Communication: The absence of a proper communication system hindered effective interaction with vendors, leading to misunderstandings and delays.
  4. Lack of Event Scheduling: The absence of an event scheduler made it challenging to allocate fairground spaces and manage vendor needs effectively.


Recognizing the need for a comprehensive management system, we collaborated with the organization to find appropriate solutions to their challenges:

  1. Spreadsheet Enhancement: Initially, we improved their existing spreadsheet operations, reducing errors and streamlining data entry processes.
  2. Needs Analysis: We scheduled several meetings with the organization, during which we actively listened to their requirements and brainstormed potential features for the management system.
  3. Feature Additions: Based on the needs analysis, we gradually added new features, including an email field for mass communication, a billing system, and an event scheduler.
  4. Interactive Fairgrounds Map: One of the significant enhancements was an interactive map of the fairgrounds. This map allowed the organization to visualize space reservations, track individual vendor needs (electricity, Wi-Fi, chairs, tables, etc.), and optimize fairground utilization.
  5. Billing Capability: We integrated a billing system that automated the vendor invoicing process, making it easier for both the organization and vendors to manage financial transactions.
  6. Communication Features: The new system enabled effective follow-up communication with vendors and allowed for future scheduling, ensuring smooth interactions and a seamless event experience.


Through meticulous planning, effective communication, and budgeting skills, we successfully transformed a simple spreadsheet into a powerful fair management system. The volunteer-led county fair organization transitioned from struggling to keep track of vendors to efficiently managing all aspects of their annual event. The interactive fairgrounds map, billing capabilities, and communication features provided the organization with the tools and professionalism of a full-blown event management system. This case study exemplifies how dedicated teamwork and innovative solutions can empower even the smallest organizations to achieve remarkable results.


Wayne Hippo is an owner and Managing Partner of PS Solutions, a custom software development and consulting firm with offices in Altoona, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Wilmington, NC.
You can reach Wayne at whippo@pssolutions.net 


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