The 2015 Chesterville Fair will keep its patrons well connected with free WiFi, and that should make it easier than ever for fairgoers to compete for $500 in the new Instagram Scavenger Hunt contest that reaches its climax on the fairgrounds this weekend.
No password is required to log on.
The free WiFi comes courtesy of locally connected company Storm Internet — supplier of wireless service to such other outdoor events as RBC Bluesfest, Folkfest and Shania Twain’s last Ottawa concert.
Established in 1996, Storm Internet is headquartered in the nation’s capital but also maintains a support and sales office in Chesterville, home of the firm’s co-owner and chair, Birket Foster.
The Fair is being fed with wireless signal via Storm’s tower located at Foster’s other Chesterville firm, MB Foster Associates, on Main Street. Five temporary “access points” set up on the fairgrounds will seamlessly distribute the wireless connection to visitors’ smart phones and other devices. “Which will give good coverage to the site,” says Foster of the high-speed service.
It’s the first time the Fair has been blanketed with free WiFi.
The tech entrepreneur explains that this brings new possibilities to the event. Available WiFi opens up the fun Instagram contest to more people — including youngsters without data-capable cell phones but who do possess WiFi-ready tablets and iPods. It also at least raises the possibility that some vendors could more easily offer credit card or Interac payment for those many folks out there who no longer carry cash.
Admission at the Fair gate is still cash only this year (Sunday is free, of course) but Chesterville Agricultural Society director Dan Gasser says the board is likely to disucss adding electronic payment methods in future — because WiFi makes it easier to achieve.
In another technological innovation better enabled with available WiFi, QR codes will be posted around this year’s Fair and linked back to the event’s official online schedule,
Foster says it’s all about helping the local Fair while rising awareness about Storm.
“It’s something that’s going to benefit the Fair, but it does give Storm some visibility as well,” he says, acknowledging that not everyone in the community has heard of the firm despite its nearly 20-year presence in the marketplace. “It allows the Fair to offer free WiFi to people, and we hope this will help people learn about Storm.”
The company installs about four new wireless Internet connections for residential and business customers in the countryside around Chesterville on a daily basis, he says. Storm operates a network of towers in the region, with a number of antennas also placed on local farmers’ silos to ensure better coverage in the countryside.
Free WiFi from Storm Internet will even save competitors from eating up data on their cellular plan, as they engage in the final hunt phase on the fairgrounds.