GREENFIELD — People who want to know what’s happening at the county fair will be able to get a bird’s-eye view without ever visiting the fairgrounds.
Earlier this week, crews for NineStar Connect finished installing five stationary cameras that will provide nearly real-time, round-the-clock views of the Hancock County 4-H Fairgrounds. The live-streaming “fair cams” will be in place for the duration of the Hancock County 4-H Fair, which begins Friday, NineStar spokesman David Spencer said.
The company placed two cameras at the fairgrounds last year, and the feeds proved so popular that officials decided to add three more cameras this year so people can see more views of the fairgounds.
Spencer stressed that the video feeds, which will contain no sound, do not constitute surveillance.
“There is nothing being recorded, and all the cameras are in public view, so there are no privacies being violated,” Spencer said.
The cameras will be placed in the Commercial Building; the midway; in the Show Arena; at the 4-H Bowl; and at the Multipurpose Arena.
That means viewers – if they don’t mind the less-than-HD-quality video – will be able to watch events such as the queen contest, the youth pedal pull and demolition derby. Most of the animal shows take place in the Show Arena, so it will be possible to watch almost all of the activity remotely.
Last year, cameras were placed on top of the Commercial Building pointing toward the midway; and inside the Commercial Building.
The cost to run the cameras with live streaming video is minimal, Spencer said. He said the fiber-optic lines already are in place at the fairgrounds, so it wasn’t a difficult job to set up the network of cameras.
The cameras will be pointed in a single direction and won’t be monitored, Spencer said.
While some visitors might feel like Big Brother will be watching, Spencer said the fair and NineStar are simply keeping up with technology that helps them share the fair with those who can’t attend. NineStar also installed equipment this week to turn the fairgrounds into a Wi-Fi zone so visitors and others can interact via social media on their mobile devices.
“We kind of see it as a good community service,” Spencer said. “It’s for those people who can’t make it out there but are curious as to what is going on. This is their opportunity to be a part of it.”
The feeds will be live starting Friday afternoon at www.nine starconnect.com.