Fairgrounds’ Trade Center becomes test site

A discussion about free Wi-Fi for the fair segued into the Trade Center becoming a Mid-Rivers Communications test site.
At the Fergus County Fair Board’s June meeting, Fairgrounds Office and Grounds Administrator Faith Robertson presented the board with an email from the company. The first part of the message detailed different options for providing free internet to this year’s fairgoers, something board members had expressed interest in.
Mid-Rivers used the message to propose a test site. The company mentioned how frequently they install and then uninstall networks for single events in the Trade Center. They then offered to make the building a test site for a new service.
The company wants to install an additional Wi-Fi network in the building. It would be separate from the Fairgrounds network, and the county facility would not be billed.
Instead, event organizers would set up their own Mid-Rivers accounts, using them to log into the network. The account would track the event’s data usage, and Mid-Rivers would bill the organizers after the function ended.
According to Robertson, this would eliminate the current problems with Wi-Fi. Right now, organizers can either use grounds’ guest account and have them as a billing middleman, or book a network install and then uninstall from Mid-Rivers.
Robertson said the move would be new for the company and the fairgrounds.
“This would be a pilot site for this,” she said.
Board member Pam Vosen motioned to approve Mid-Rivers’ proposal, as well as provide free Trade Center internet during the 2017 Central Montana Fair. Member Alan Shammel seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

In other business
• The Fergus County Fair Board approved a total of $4,023.60 in claims.
• Board Member Candi Zion said a fax machine, printer, picnic table and saddle racks had been donated after the Fergus County Fairgrounds wish list ran in the newspaper. Fergus County Commissioner Ross Butcher added he was fixing up a golf cart to donate as well.
• Robertson reported the Clay Walker night show had sold, to date, 642 tickets for a total of $23,681. Last year at this time, the Travis Tritt night show had sold 788 tickets.
• The Boys and Girls Club of Lewistown is looking to get involved with the fair. Executive Director Abby Franks made two presentations at the June meeting. One, a proposal for a booth on the aerodynamics of planes, was approved provided Franks took responsibility for the logistics of getting a small plane on and off the fairgrounds. The other, a request for kids to volunteer during the fair, met with a counterproposal. The Board suggested moving the date to the Monday for cleanup after the fair, and Franks agreed to check with the club’s schedule.
• After a presentation by Chelsea Solberg, the Board agreed to the placement of life-size cutouts directing new mothers to the nursing booth during the Fair.
• With the help of Office and Grounds Assistant Kristine Dunphy, Gazebo Events Coordinator Angie Davidson submitted two permit applications to the Montana Department of Justice. The pair reported application approval would allow bingo to return to the fair, and Davidson said she would update the Board when the applications were processed.
• The Board approved a proposal by Central Montana Jaycee’s President Jacob Williams to improve the back gate on the beer gardens.



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