It started when Nick Brueggemann went looking for corn dogs at Cottleville’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
A corn dog stand could have been a needle in a haystack at an event with 40,000 to 50,000 people. Finding his wife, finding out if the parade had started, and locating parking lots were other issues.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have some technology on his phone to figure all that out?” Brueggemann asked, according to David Rachell, marketing director for Palaroo, a St. Peters-based computer software company.
Brueggemann happened to work as a software engineer for Stauder Technologies, another St. Peters-based company, which provides computer mapping systems for the military. Rachell and Stauder’s owner ran into each other and began talking.
Soon Palaroo, a separate company, began research and development of a new mobile app designed for users at outdoor events. The app was launched this summer at PrideFest and Festival of the Little Hills in St. Charles. And, St. Peters officials are urging attendees at the annual Celebrate St. Peters event Sept. 18-19 to download the free app onto their smartphones and other mobile devices – before heading to 370 Lakeside Park.
Palaroo, also the name of the app, includes a clickable map of the Celebrate St. Peters fairgrounds, which shows all of the booths and food vendors as well as stage schedules and restroom locations.
“(Users) can see simply every detail of this event on the app by simply clicking it,” said Amada Karas, an event organizer for St. Peters.
Karas said Palaroo can tell a user not only where a vendor is but whether that vendor is out of, say, cotton candy. Users also can get directions and use GPS technology to find their friends or learn about parking. And, the app can send out an alert to remind a user that a band is playing in a few minutes.
Using the app, organizers can warn attendees about bad weather or other emergency situations.
While the app is free for users, event organizers must pay to use the service.
“By the time we got to the Festival of Little Hills we were ready to rock and roll with it,” Rachell said. About 1,200 people downloaded the app for the festival.
The company, which works out of an office at 114 Mexico Court in St. Peters, has three full-time employees along with Rachell. Growth plans include gradually moving into Chicago, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Memphis, and into California in December.