Heading to the Fair? Shake that app

Fair ShakeThe Minnesota State Fair can be a gut-wrenching experience, with more creative food options available than the average human could possibly consume.

True to it’s Minnesota nature, food at ‘the Fair is anything but average.

But the sheer variety of deep-fried delicacies can make for difficult decisions that can overwhelm even the most gluttonous Minnesotan. There’s only so much time in a day, and only so much space in your stomach. So, where do you feast at the Great Get-Together?

If you’re the adventurous type, maybe you’d like to let your phone decide.

Fair Shake, an aptly titled new iOS app developed by local digital agency iExposure, adds a fun and unpredictable twist to your eating experience. The concept is similar to Urban Spoon, in that the user selects a category (there are nine, ranging from Fair Faves to On-A-Stick to Bizarre) then shakes the phone for a random suggestion.

When a food vendor is displayed, you’ll receive a quirky description and – thanks to GPS integration – you’ll also get a map with walking directions to the stand.

“Knowing the indecision that plagues most of us at some point or another, we decided to come up with a tool that selects for you,” says Jeff Hahn, CEO of iExposure.

The company’s latest release is actually the second iteration of Fair Shake, which debuted last year. Hahn and his team decided that they wanted to create a State Fair-related app as an internal project, and they developed the initial version in less than three weeks, launching it about a week before last year’s Fair. Despite the late release, the app was still downloaded about 8,000 times.

This year, the content was tweaked and updated with new vendors before being released last Thursday.

The app is not officially commissioned by or associated with the State Fair, which allows a certain level of freedom that helps distinguish the product. The team at iExposure writes all the amusing, light-hearted copy for the vendor descriptions.

Even if you’re not interested in having the app guide your food decisions, the GPS map functionality can certainly prove useful for any fairgoer tired of carrying around and deciphering the physical map.

A front-end and back-end development agency based in downtown Minneapolis, iExposure has been around for 17 years, specializing in conversion optimization, application programming and mobile development.

Fair Shake has been a departure from their typical work, but Hahn says developing it has proven a rewarding experience, even though the app is free and there’s no monetization aspect.

“Simply going through the process was really fun for us as a team,” he says.