With a record setting attendance of 759,429 people, volunteers had their hands full answering questions, conducting interviews, and generally having a great time.
Cyberspace — even the term sounds technical and beyond most people’s comprehension. But at the 1996 North Carolina State Fair, CBC employees and other volunteers helped to dispel the myth that the Internet is just for computer professionals. Many of the web surfers who ventured into Cyberspace from the Interpath and WRAL OnLine computers were first time users (referred to as “newbies”). And, with a little assistance, they dove right in and were cruising in no time.
|Even first time surfers found the Interpath site easy to navigate.|
Jason Botts (seen below), Operations Manager for Interpath, coordinated the volunteers for WRAL-OnLine and Interpath. He had a daunting task, as he had to fill 110 shifts for a total of 480 man (and woman) hours. He also configured the computers and software used. There were seven computers; three from WRAL5 OnLine and four from Interpath.
Despite a few glitches (the generator ran out of gas and caused a power failure during Thursday’s pre-opening gala, and a rain storm blew inside the tent on Friday night and knocked out the TI connection) the Cyberspace exhibit proved to be a very popular place to visit. There always seemed to be a steady crowd waiting to get OnLine, get a digital picture taken with Dave or Kramer (not the real guys, only a cardboard cutout), or get an information bag and button.
|Ed Bethel pauses for a moment with Dave (or a reasonable facsimile).|
Other participants in the Cyberspace Exhibit included computer and internet related firms and WRAL-HDTV. Many fair goers were familiar with this new television technology through news stories, but this was their first opportunity to experience it for themselves.
The 1996 State Fair’s Cyberspace Exhibit was a success on all frontiers – — it was popular with fair goers, and a big hit with all of the CBC employees and volunteers.
|Dan Metz (Money Mailer), Mark Bertone (Interpath Web Development) and Jeff Hinzman (Corporate DP) pose with Kramer.|
WRAL-TV5, WRAZ-50, and WRAL-FM shared space under the broadcaster’s tent throughout the State Fair. Each added their own personality, yet they all worked together and lent a helping hand when needed.