Miniature carnival unveiled at fair.

August 10, 2016



By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

PERE MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — Ray Genter grew up across the street from the Mason County Fairgrounds. His family raised geese and ducks and the fair played an important part of influencing the type of person he was to become.

When he was just a boy, he tried to buy a carnival ride that was left at the fairgrounds by a bankrupted carnival. He lost the bid to Henry Marek from Marek’s Auto Parts and his mother wasn’t too happy that he even tried to spend $500 on the ride. She encouraged him to become a florist, and he did. He worked at P.M. Floral on Sixth Street and then later at Andersen’s Greenhouse on North Main Street in Scottville. Eventually he bought his own flower shop, Flowers by Ray and Sharon, which continues to operate today with locations in Muskegon Township and North Muskegon.

But, Ludington and Mason County have always been dear to his heart, as has been the fair. Ray’s wife, Sharon, said they got married in 1969. Right away she learned that he had an interest in entertaining people. He started out with a unicycle and then got involved with the Shriners. Eventually his hobbies turned to creating models of carnivals.

The 24-foot long miniature carnival that Ray and Sharon donated to the Western Michigan Fair Association Monday night is the second model he has built. The first was built to a considerably larger scale. As the Genters have downsized their lives, the models had to go. Mason County was a natural choice for the miniature carnival, Ray said.

“This is where I grew up,” he said.

Hear more from Ray and Sharon on the video.

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