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Local

Scarecrow Fest launches mobile-friendly website

ST. CHARLES – Organizers of the annual Scarecrow Fest in St. Charles have launched a mobile-friendly website to avoid the website crash experienced on opening day last year, the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau announced this week.

CVB Executive Director Amy Egolf said in a written statement that her team had several hours of frantic phone calls to multiple website resources when, about 8 p.m. on opening day 2011, the bureau learned via Facebook message that www.scarecrowfest.com had crashed.

“At the time, we knew the crash was due to extremely high usage,” Egolf said, “but it wasn’t until the festival was over that we learned the usage causing the crash was from 10,000 mobile users. The main site is graphic and data intensive, so all those visitors downloading to their smartphones was too much for the system to handle. That information made it clear that creation of a mobile site was essential.”

The mobile site, which was launched last weekend, should reduce the hits to the main website. In addition to helping reduce Web traffic, the mobile site was designed with GPS locations to guide attendees to free remote parking lots at Charlestowne Mall and Thompson and Haines middle schools.

Scarecrow Fest is set from Oct. 5 to 7. It is a significant component to the bureau’s mission to promote the greater St. Charles area as a tourism destination. Onsite intercept surveys completed in 2011 identified attendees from 142 Illinois communities and 16 states, with 44 percent of the visitors attending the festival for the first time.

“The mobile site is going to enhance our ability to get detailed information to ... festival attendees,” Egolf said.

Scarecrow contest applications are available at the First Street Visitor Info Centers, www.scarecrowfest.com and by calling the SCCVB at 630-377-6161.

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