Sunnyview Expo Center
Serving as the Winnebago County fairgrounds, the Sunnyview Expo Center offers space for trade shows and public exhibits plus horse and livestock shows, concerts, rodeos, 4H and scouting events, auctions, fairs, races, weddings, and even an annual circus.
Given the wide range of events that they host, the Center needed an extremely flexible set of sound systems. Lewis Sound & Video designed a DSP-controlled audio backbone which feeds loudspeakers we installed in the various buildings and outdoor areas on the grounds.
“The main advantage of the DSP is flexibility,” says Henry Lewis. “At a push of a button, staff can run any audio anywhere on the property.” It’s essentially a huge, 78-acre room-combining system serving the following areas:
- A 31,000 square-foot exposition building with zoned sound systems serving the main exhibit hall and two smaller halls, each with three combinable meeting rooms. Each zone has its own ceiling-mounted loudspeakers plus wired and wireless mic inputs, making it possible to run multiple independent meetings or combine any part of the building into a single unit.
- A 1/3 mile clay oval racetrack with a 4,400-seat grandstand. Staff can plug a portable rack into the backbone, and it provides wired and wireless mic inputs plus CD and cassette music sources. “Typically they would plug an announcer’s mic directly into the rack,” says Lewis, “but they may have an emcee down on the track or someone singing the national anthem and they do that with the wireless system.”
- A racetrack pit area with its own inputs and loudspeakers. “They might be having a driver meeting and be using a microphone there,” says Lewis, “but simultaneously be taking acoustic input from the grandstand, so they can keep track of ongoing events.”
- An outdoor livestock arena with bleacher seating and 150′ x 200′ competition corral. Staff plug a portable rack into the backbone when needed, with wired and wireless mic inputs and CD and cassette music sources.
- A 150′ x 320′ covered horse arena, served by a similar portable rack plugged into the backbone.
- A series of livestock barns and outdoor areas with their own speakers and audio inputs.
- A property-wide paging system which can address any or all zones from any mic input on the backbone.
A large number of preprogrammed settings on the DSP make operation easy, greatly reducing the need for technical ability within the operating staff. A central control area in the exposition building includes the main racks plus monitor speakers, allowing personnel to hear what’s going on in any zone on the property.
The system has proven itself over many years of use. Lewis Sound did the original installation in 1990, added components during expansion of the expo hall in 1995, and have returned for maintenance and upgrades as needed. The operation has been extremely reliable except for damage caused by several lightning strikes over the years. In response, we installed a surge arresting system in 2003, which has prevented any further storm damage.
The Center’s management and staff have been very pleased with our work.