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October 19, 2022

A non-profit festival, Paperfest, in Wisconsin relies on walkie talkies and NOAA Weather Radio to ensure a safe and efficient event.

Midland Radio spoke to the director of Paperfest, Matt Boots about the use of radios at the festival.

ABOUT PAPERFEST

Paperfest is a festival in Kimberly, Wisconsin at Sunset Park. 

It's a free event put on by Kim-Com Productions, a non-profit 501(c)(3). 

Boots' father founded the event 34 years ago.

“34 years ago there were a lot of other events like picnics that were sort of going away in this area. He thought we should have some kind of celebration. He came up with the event and the name of Paperfest because there are a lot of paper mills in the area," Boots said.

The event consists of live music across three stages over four days. Paperfest also has hot air balloons, carnival rides, riverboat cruises, helicopter rides, and more.

Because it's a non-profit event, Boots said it doesn't just bring the community together fun, but for causes near and dear to those in that same community.

“Not only does it bring people to Sunset Park for a great time, the proceeds from the event are then donated back into the community.”

 Because his father is one of the founders, Boots has been helping with the event for as long as he can remember, but joined the board in 2017.

“I think most of the people who organize the event, we’re all volunteers and none of us get paid, we just enjoy the camaraderie and watching the community come together. Whether it’s standing up near the stage and looking out over the crowd and knowing that you put on a successful event or watching kids have a great time with the game and the petting zoo, all those little things make you feel like your hard work is worth it.”

 2021 was the event's best year, raising $83,500 for local charities. However, that number significantly increased in 2022 with $93,000 going to a total of 42 local organizations.

USING WALKIE TALKIES AT EVENT

Paperfest uses walkie talkies to cover its communication needs.

“To run a safe, successful, and well-organized event you need fast and reliable communication so for our outdoor festival, we use the GXT1000 Two-Way Radios. They’re perfect because of their weather resistance, battery life, and durability," Boots said.

Volunteers, organizers, security, emergency medical staff, and local fire departments use the GXT1000 along with headsets and the AVPH10 Shoulder Speaker Mic.

“We want to make communication convenient for the person using it and have it work in any situation we might need them in.”

Boots likes the headsets for when he is close to the stage.

He said the walkie talkies bring efficiency to the event.

“The two-way radios keep everyone on the same page. People don’t have to pick up their cellphone and call or text someone. It’s convenient and saves a lot of time.”

Paperfest chose Midland radios because they have continued to last for years.

“We know that Midland’s radios are reliable, the radios bring efficient and effective communication. When one person says something, everyone hears it right away.”

NOAA WEATHER RADIOS PROVIDE SAFETY

Midland Radio donated a WR120 NOAA Weather Radio to Paperfest to bring a new level of safety to the event.

“In 2019 we had really big storms. The entire park was ripped apart. It leveled every tent we had. There was probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. That’s why we reached out about a weather radio. We don’t want to be surprised by a storm in the future.”

The WR120 is kept in the finance area where someone is stationed at all times.

“If an alert does come through, that person will get on the walkie talkies at a moments notice to let everyone know.”

Getting alerts gives Boots peace of mind that even if weather does pop up, they will have the time needed to react and get everyone to safety. 


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