The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (CPFA), known locally as Arts Festival, is an annual festival held around the Pennsylvania State University campus in State College, Pennsylvania. First held in 1967, Arts Festival welcomes over 125,000 people each year to delight in captivating displays of visual and performance art. In addition to being an event that has spread its roots to become a proud local tradition, Arts Festival is fondly treasured by Penn State alumni as an opportunity to return to their college town and reconnect with friends in a lively environment.
Made possible by a largely volunteer effort, the event features outdoor and indoor stage performances, a juried gallery art exhibition, a street painting event, and a sidewalk sale and exhibition that consistently ranks among the United States’ top outdoor fine art and craft shows. Over 300 exhibitors are on-site showcasing crafted works of ceramic, basket, jewelry, fiber, painting, and wearable art.
CPFA 2019 by the Numbers
Dates: July 10 – 14, 2019
Total Attendance: ~125,000
Total Exhibitors: 300+
Total Volunteers 500
GooseChase Teams Registered: 79
GooseChase Submissions: 524
Utilizing Technology to Enhance User Experiences
For several years, researchers at Penn State University’s College of Information Sciences and Technology have utilized technology to help enrich the experiences of Arts Festival attendees. Since 2008, Penn State’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI) have maintained and updated a mobile app that helps festival-goers locate booths and keep track of event schedules.
In addition to developing of the Arts Festival app this year, Tiffany Knearem, PhD Candidate at CHCI, also created a GooseChase digital scavenger hunt to run alongside the event. The aim was to engage with guests on a more interactive level, and draw awareness to exhibits and displays that might be missed at first glance.
“We wanted people to discover things about the festival that they may not have known about, or have overlooked in the past. To this end, we created missions that encouraged reflection, awareness, and exploration. We were hoping to learn how mobile technology, specifically mobile games, can promote community awareness and reflection for people who attend local events.”
The GooseChase missions encouraged festival attendees to actively reflect on exhibitions at a personal level. Player responses also helped to inform organizers of how the works were being received
The Arts Festival features many temporary installations (ex: sand sculpture, water mister, etc) downtown. Take a photo of an installation that you wish was in town year-round. Why do you think this installation could be valuable for the State College community?
Creating GooseChase Missions and Marketing the Game
The CHCI team structured missions around Arts Festival’s food stalls, interactive activities, live performances, art displays, and craft exhibits. In addition to asking guests to photograph their favourites in each category, the organizers utilized the GooseChase platform’s comment feature to gather participant feedback about each display. Utilizing text missions, organizers were also able to survey demographic information about participants, and ask for their contact information in order to alert prize winners.
The game was marketed primarily with print advertisements leading up to, and during the event. Word of mouth also encourage participation as local news channels, online blogs, and other local media channels helped bring additional awareness to the game. The team also made sure to include prizes for top teams in the form of posters, t-shirts, and gift certificates to use at next year’s festival.
Many missions had a built-in benefit of increasing foot-traffic and guest engagement with the interactive activities.
Many activities take place during the festival! Take a photo at or near an Arts Festival activity that you enjoyed.
Overall, surveyed participants noted that the GooseChase game was user-friendly experience that added positive, competitive spirit to the festival. Locals and visitors alike encountered positive takeaways from participating in the scavenger hunt.
“We surveyed and interviewed game participants and discovered that the game helped people to become more deeply engaged in the festival and more aware of all the various activities that occurred alongside the core events. Others found themselves reflecting on past memories.”
In addition to festival exhibits, the missions also asked players to identify notable spots on the University Campus itself.
Take a photo of a great spot on campus to take pictures (for example, graduation photos). What about this location makes it an ideal place for memorabilia photography?
Advice for Future Organizers
For organizers interested in running GooseChase games at similar events, Tiffany advises really tailoring missions toward achieving your event goals, and ensuring that anyone can join the game and play.
“Really consider your goals, and try to make missions engaging, fun, with a low barrier to completion. For most people, the game was not the main reason they were at the festival, so the missions should reflect a secondary role. It is a good idea to partner with local organizations to help get the word out.
A deely-rooted community event would not have been complete without a dash of campus pride.
Take a photo and tell us about something that reminds you of any of Penn State Football's victories over Ohio State! What stands out the most about the place you chose?
If you are an organizer interested in organizing a GooseChase scavenger hunt at your next event, please refer to our Conference Solutions page for more details. You can also read our other user case studies to learn more about the numerous ways GooseChase can be utilized.
What is GooseChase?
GooseChase is an online platform that helps organizers create and run digital scavenger hunt experiences for team building, learning, public engagement, or a variety of other events. Head over to goosechase.com to learn more about how it works!