The State Fair has gone hi-tech to get folks to explore some of the less frequently visited parts of the fair.
To join in a scavenger hunt through the fairgrounds, download the mobile SCVNGR app to an iPhone or Android smartphone and select "Love a Fair" from the "Nearby Treks" list. The trek is made up of different challenges that can be tackled throughout the run of the fair.
Fair spokesman Paul Jones said this digital exploration of the fair will introduce people to parts of the fairgrounds they perhaps don't normally explore, and do it in a fun way.
The challenges highlight areas like the Field of Dreams, the flower and garden show or Heritage Circle, and hunters need to be close to those locations to complete the test.
And because it's the fair, some challenges likely will involve food.
For instance, Jones explained, you could be asked to review your favorite fair food in haiku. Type the haiku into the SCVNGR app and receive points for completing the task. Then, select a new challenge.
The app keeps a tally of the points awarded for each completed challenge, but doesn't display the scores of others competitors.
The top 20 scorers at the end of the fair will be notified and awarded prizes.
There's also a text-based version of the game, but it has fewer bells and whistles.
Where am I?
There are other techie ways to enhance your fairgoing experience.
Download the fair's iPhone or Android app and you'll never again have to wander around the fair grounds looking for your favorite corn roaster.
The app includes an interactive map that helps you pinpoint food vendors, rides and exhibits and uses your phone's GPS to show your location on the fairgrounds. It also contains updated schedules and posts from the fair's Deep Fried blog.
A version of that interactive map also is available on the fair's website.
Just Tweet it
The fair has a strong presence on Twitter, too, updating thousands of followers on the latest happenings, answering questions from fairgoers and tweeting fair photos.
The Deep Fried Triangle Tweetup held at the fairgrounds Thursday night drew 122 tweeters who got together to talk social media and fair fun. More than a dozen teams completed a combined 964 challenges in a special Tweetup Scavenger Hunt, Jones said.
In addition to Twitter, the fair staff uses Facebook, their Deep Fried Blog, YouTube and Flickr to spread information about the fair and other Department of Agriculture events.
Some fair exhibits also focus on technology.
The new "Cultivate a Career" exhibit, which helps inform visitors about careers in agriculture, uses QR Codes to connect visitors with more information about things in the exhibit.
A QR Code, which looks like a square, dense barcode, is scanned with a smart phone. The phone's screen then displays information or points to a website.
You'll need a QR Code reader app on your phone.
QR Codes can be found throughout the fairgrounds this year.