Festival makes improvement to fairgrounds’ Wi-Fi
LVN Editor Emeritus
The Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair committee has made two upgrades to the fairgrounds — one of them major — that will be a plus for this year’s three-day event.
The biggest improvement centers on the addition of Wi-Fi capabilities, which will help both the committee and vendors this year.
“We have the opportunity to improve our facilities and to give back to the community,” said Zip Upham, chairman of the festival’s committee that plans each year’s event.
Upham said the committee contacted CC Communications, the festival’s major sponsor, to install Wi-Fi throughout the fairgrounds for both the front-gate ticket operations and all vendors. Heading into the annual festival, Upham said the event has almost 100 vendors.
“We worked with CC Communications, and they designed an array of Wi-Fi antennas that are pretty broad and overlap the coverage over the fairgrounds,” Upham said.
For the past month, CC Communications laid fiber optic along Sheckler Road, but according to Mark Feest, CC Communications general manager, the opportunity was ripe to expand Wi-Fi capabilities. He said CC Communications expanded the line on both Allen and Sheckler roads, and businesses and the festival will now be able to take advantage of the new fiber optic. He said the Wi-Fi will cover all the announcing and scoring stands and buildings on the fairgrounds.
Feest said the line will create a nice, noiseless fiber network with all the access points and “a wireless mesh network that talks to each other.” He said the Wi-Fi will improve the festival experience for the vendors.
“They’ll have what they need to sell and access information,” he added.
Not only will the Wi-Fi help this year’s festival, Feest also added rodeos, such as the Lions Junior Rodeo the following weekend, and other activities will benefit from the upgrade.
“We’ll work with the fairgrounds to implement this project going forward,” he said.
With the wireless coverage available to the festival and its vendors, Upham said if the rollout goes as expected, the Wi-Fi has the potential capacity to be available for cellphones.
The total cost for the Wi-Fi installation is $8,500 with the majority of it coming from the festival.
“We had the opportunity to do it once, not piecemeal,” Upham said. “We’re a nonprofit organization, and the festival committee had proceeds from previous festivals and had some money to do some projects.”
In addition to expanding the fiber optic lines, the festival spent $1,500 to install a security gate on the east side between the festival grounds and rodeo arena.
“We wanted to have access control to the perimeter of the festival, and to do that, we needed to have a control mechanism for part of the fire lane,” Upham pointed out.
Since the annual Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair shifted from the Labor Day weekend to the last full weekend in August three years ago, Feest said he has seen an improvement with the number and quality of events and attendance. He added it’s been good to see the festival continue to grow.