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Western Michigan Fair Association

Who Are We?

The Western Michigan Fair Association is committed to promoting the Mason County Fairgrounds as a destination for all ages and interests, offering a diverse variety of activities. Our association’s statement of purpose is to promote the interests of agriculture, horticulture, education, mechanical arts, fine arts, fruit and grain products, stock raising and dairy products, domestic science, community service, entertainment, and kindred spirits for the entire region.

The Western Michigan Fair Association is comprised of people who serve on the board of directors and committees. These dedicated people care for the Mason County Fairgrounds property, facilities, and events. 

The Western Michigan Fair Association is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are accepted. You may also donate to the WMFA Endowment Fund through the Community Foundation for Mason County.

Celebrating 85 Years!

The annual fair has been held each year with the exception of during WW II. Restriction on travel, probable lack of agriculture exhibits and uncertainties of satisfactory entertainment caused the fair board to recommend that no fair be held in 1945.  Factoring in that missing year, 2024 will mark the 85th annual Western Michigan Fair.

Our History

This is an old logo used in the past. 

Fairs in Mason County can be traced back to the 1870s. However the present location hosted it’s first fair in 1936. The fair was discontinued for five years during the height of the Great Depression, but in 1936 the Western Michigan Fair Association was formed. One year prior, the county board of supervisors authorized the purchase of a 185-acre farm owned by Charles G. Wing. The price for the property was $5,000.00!

This action was in response to a promise by the Michigan Bureau of Aeronautics that an aviation field would be constructed by the state and WPA if the county furnished the site. The Wing farm located two miles east of Ludington, provided the perfect spot to build an airport and fairgrounds side by side.

 

Select a Tab Below for People and Positions

The success of the Western Michigan Fair and the Mason County Fairgrounds depends upon the people who are involved. From the Board of Directors, to committee chairs and volunteers, every person makes a difference. Would you like to join us in our effort? Please select from the following tabs and learn about the opportunities which might be best suited for your time and talent. 

If you want to get involved, but don’t have time this year, please consider a sponsorship or donation to help us be the best we can be. View our Sponsorship Opportunities here.

Meet Our WMFA Leadership Team

Introducing the Board of Directors for the Western Michigan Fair Association. These volunteers work all year long to fulfill the responsibilities which come with running a large fair event, and the entire fairgounds. If you have an interest to serve on a future fair board, please send your request via our contact form.

President: John Lammi

John Lammi has lived in Mason County since January of 1998, prior to that, he had lived in Oscoda, Michigan. He is married to his wife Karen, and they have two sons, Matthew and Michael, both of whom have participated at the Western Michigan Fair for a number of years. They are currently farming cattle, along with swine and poultry, at his home in Riverton Township. John has an associate’s degree in applied science from Ferris State University, and is employed with Consumers Energy. John has been a leader of the 4-H group Barnyard Buddies, for over 10 years, and has been a volunteer with Mason County Central Schools and Scottville Recreation, as a baseball and basketball coach. (Term expires 2024)

1st Vice President: Brandon Quillan

Bandon was born in Alpena, Michigan, but has lived in Mason County for 29 years. He graduated from Mason County Central and then went on to attend two tech schools at Wyotech. For the past 13 years, Brandon has been employed for UPS. As a youth, Brandon did participate in 4-H but then as a teenager, he transitioned into demo derbies, figure eight and off-road events. Brandon, his wife Carrie and their children Brooklyn, Brogan, Brayden and Bryce whom are 4-H members and sell animals at the West Mi Livestock Council Market Sale. Brandon’s goal serving on the WMFA Board of Directors is to continue creating great experiences for area youth and the community we live in. WMFA Committee assignments consist of Safety & Security and Parking and will help wherever he is needed. Aside from family, work and fair, Brandon enjoys RC Circle Track Racing, fishing and camping. He has coached his son’s hockey team, the West Shore Wolves for six years. (Term expires 2024)

2nd Vice President : John Cregg

John Cregg has experienced more fairs at the Mason County Fairgrounds than any other director. His family moved their 500 acre, 150 milking cow herd to Victory Township and at the age of 10, he began exhibiting a variety of 4-H projects which included both animals and non-livestock. When John aged out of the 4-H program, he became a 4-H Leader of the Northwest Livestock Club and has received his 30 year leadership pin. He has assisted his five children and now his sixteen grandchildren as they follow in his footsteps exhibiting and marketing their project animals. John and his wife Mary, chair the Buildings and Grounds Committee. Each spring it is that committees who makes recommendations and suggestions for repairs, new construction and capital improvements. John has been honored with both the Mason County 4-H Meritorious Service Award and Friend of 4-H. In 2014 he received the Michigan Fairs & Exhibitions Volunteer of the Year as well as Zone 3 Volunteer of the Year. He serves or has served in numerous capacities on the fair board, but he will tell you what he is most proud of “is that above all he is in it for the kids.” John owns his own trucking business – Cregg Trucking. (Term expires 2023)

Secretary: Sheri Howe

Sheri Howe: Is lucky enough to have been raised in Mason County. Her family owns a horse farm that they purchased when she was 2 years old. She has had horses all her life, so it is no surprise that she have been a 4-H leader for over 20 years. Sheri has also been an Equestrian Team coach for 15 years. She received her Bachelor degree in accounting from Baker College. She works for UPS in Ludington. Sheri was able to marry her high school sweet heart and at that time she was introduced to the dairy farm world. Sheri and her husband have three wonderful children that are very involved in all aspects of their lives. They enjoy showing all species of animals, take dance lessons and participate school sports. They have also been involved with the 4-H program since they were 2 years old. Her great kids also help on both farms each and every day. She has been a member of the Western Michigan Fair Association for the past 6 years. She can’t express how wonderful it is working with this dedicated group of volunteers. (Term expires 2025)

Executive Director: Scott Mertz, Jr.

Scott Merz, Jr was elected WMFA director in 2021 and the 2022 Western Mi Fair was the first time serving as a director. After volunteering to help out in 2021, he felt serving on the Board would be an opportunity to give back to the community. A lifelong Mason County resident, residing in Eden Township, Scott graduated from Mason County Central. He worked in the local farming industry for many years, but now is employed by Gustafson Well Drilling and Malburg Sanitation. Being an avid outdoorsman, he enjoys fishing and hunting. WMFA committee assignments include Traffic & Parking and Safety & Security. (Term expires 2023)

Director: Linda Hackert

Linda Hackert was born and raised in Ludington, and graduated from Ludington High School. Linda was the city girl who met and married the country boy. Together they owned and worked a dairy farm in Amber Township. She and David have two adult children and three grandchildren, who all have been involved in some form or another with the Mason County 4-H Program and West Mi. Livestock Council. Linda’s committee assignments are Superintendent of the Floriculture Building, overseeing the fair office during the annual fair and chairs and coordinates winter storage program. Having an artistic flare, Linda’s work can be seen with the small painted barn quilts, new auctioneers stand and photo backdrop for market animal buyers. (Term expires 2024)

Director: Andy Quillan

Andrew (Andy) Quillan has lived in Mason County most of his life, graduating from Mason County Central and then continuing his education, receiving an AA degree from West Shore Community College and a B.A. degree from Grand Valley State University. He and his wife Kim reside in Sheridan Township, along with four children. The kids exhibit swine at the annual fair and market their projects through the West Michigan Livestock Council. Andy is employed with UPS and when time permits, he loves the outdoors, camps, ATV’s and anything that deals with motorsports. Being elected to the WMFA Board of Directors, Andy hopes to bring a different perspective on what can be done and how the idle areas of the fairgrounds can be used. He believes it is important to honor the past, and still wants to continue to update the grounds. But at the same time would like to bring new and different entertainment to the area. He feels that Mason County has one of the best fairgrounds in the state and wants to help keep it one step above the rest. (Term Expires 2024)

Director: Dennis Cregg

Dennis Cregg knows all about the Western Michigan Fair and Mason County Fairgrounds since his family can be regarded as “4-H Royalty”, beginning with his grandmother Frances “Granny” Cregg, father John, brother, sister, his children and nieces and nephews. Dennis admits he enjoys seeing his children and other family members as they carry on the family tradition. Dennis is employed at Marquette Rail as a diesel mechanic. His responsibilities on the WMFA Board is serving on the Building and Grounds Committee. This allows him to have a hand in helping maintain and improve the 61 acres and 27 buildings on the fairgrounds. Dennis especially enjoys the annual market animal sale and is available to help whenever needed. (Term expires 2025)

Treasurer: Deby Gustafson

Debra (Deby) Gustafson was elected to the WMFA Board of Directors in 2020. Mason County was home until 1997, when her family moved south a mile and a half into Weare Township, Oceana County. Deby attended school in Pentwater and received her GED. Until some serious health issues curtailed two career choices, Deby is now very happy working for the family business, Gustafason Well Drilling, Inc. Deby has two adult children and several wonderful nieces and nephews who are 4-H members and introduced her to the joys of attending the annual fair. Other interests are traveling, camping and family time. The reason Deby ran for the Board was to give back to the community and in her words “share some of her useless knowledge!” One area of expertise learned as time serving as the Weare Township clerk, is assisting the WMFA treasurer with the daily cash office responsibilities. She also helped with parking and filled in wherever there was a void. (Term ends 2023)

Executive Director: Tyler Martz

Tyler Martz was born and raised in Mason County on the family farm. He graduated from Mason County Central in 2008. Tyler is married to his wife, Amy, and have one son. They reside in Riverton Township. He has been employed by Springdale Farms for the last 15 years. Tyler has participated in the 4-H program since he was 5 years old showing multiple animals until he aged out. Tyler joined the WMFA Board to be more involved mentoring the youth and assist anywhere he is needed on the grounds. In his free time he enjoys doing anything outdoors including camping, hunting, and fishing. (Term expires 2025)

Director: Megan Samuels

Megan Samuels has been a resident of Custer Township since 2020 and worked in the financial industry in Mason County since 2018. She is the Assistant Vice President Branch Manager SR at PNC Bank in Ludington. Megan is married to Luke Samuels who was born and raised in Mason County, and they have three children, two of which are attending Mason County Central schools. She and her family raise goats and look forward to adding more animals to their hobby farm in the future. She hopes to see her youngest child showing animals and participating in the fair once she is of age. Megan looks forward to serving on our board and being part of the positive impact on the youth within our agricultural community.

Director: Brittany Smith

Brittany Smith was born in Blytheville, Arkansas. In 1990 she and her family relocated to southern Illinois to work in a family business. Brittany was raised on a horse farm and that meant she also grew up showing horses. She showed throughout many states but a highlight was traveling to Fort Worth, Texas and placing 16 th in a class of 65 halter horses.Brittany participated in 4-H beginning at the age of 8 through 19. She served as the 4-H Club President for 12 years, as well as serving on the 4-H Federation. In addition she raised and exhibited beef cattle, horses, Boer goats, rabbits and gardening. Another leadership role she experienced was the regional youth director for the Illinois Quarter Horse Association. All of this ended in 2004 when tragically, many of the animals perished in a barn fire. Brittany and her husband Josh married in 2009 and have two children. They moved to Michigan in 2019 after accepting a job with Great Lakes Energy. Brittany and her husband are proud of their kids who have begun showing animals at the Western Michigan Fair. Their son also is a goalie on the Lakeshore Jr. Lumberjacks hockey team. Their daughter plays volleyball and softball. The family enjoys camping in their spare time. Most important to the family is helping out, giving back to the community and meeting new people. (Term expires 2026)

Director: Daryl Jabrocki

Bio coming soon.

Director: Jamie Wehner

Bio coming soon.

Director: Angel Austin

Bio coming soon.

Are you interested in serving on our Board of Directors in the future?

The Western Michigan Fair Association Board of Directors may have vacancies in an upcoming year, as director terms are for a limited time. Please reach out to us if you have any interest or questions about serving.

Would you like to serve on a committee?

Whatever your interest, we probably have a committee which would appeal to you. Send us an email using our Contact form.

Fairgrounds Gardens

Our Blue Ribbon Quilt Garden would appeal to those who enjoy gardening. We definitely would appreciate help with this task!  Send us an email using our Contact form.

Monitor Buildings

Building monitors to help us during fair is an opportunity to not only volunteer, but also to interact with people.  Send us an email using our Contact form.

Meet Our Volunteers

The fair wouldn’t be possible with out our volunteers. Below are just a few noteworthy volunteers. More will be added soon.

Volunteer of the Year Award

John & Darlene Fuhrman were selected “Michigan Association of Fairs 2023 Volunteers of the Year for Zone 3” — What an honor!

A BIG THANK YOU to three very special volunteers:

  • Paddy Baker
  • Marcia Hansen
  • Mary Cregg

There are hundreds of volunteers who all pitch in, however these three individuals, each with their own unique talents and contributions, have helped weave the fabric of the Western Michigan Fair Association. Their dedication, passion, and countless hours of volunteer service have shaped the Fair into the beloved institution it is today. Their stories are a testament to the power of individual action and the enduring impact that families and friendships have on our association. As our facilities open each year, welcoming visitors from near and far, the legacy of these remarkable women and our countless volunteers can be noticed all over the grounds. Their spirit of service and commitment to excellence continues to inspire others to give of their time and talents, ensuring that the Western Michigan Fair remains a vibrant and cherished tradition for generations to come.