More cultural trails planned for Mason, Lake counties.

July 27, 2018

The Scottville Clown Band Shell

More cultural trails planned for Mason, Lake counties.

The Ludington/Mason County Cultural Economic Development Task Force is launching two new Mason County Cultural Trails with a third planned.  The new “trails” will focus on music and sculpture and will be “unveiled” at the end of this week.

In partnership with Lake County, area residents and visitors who log on to the CED Task Force website will learn where live music is being performed along the trail.  The Lake & Mason Music Heritage Trail stretches from Idlewild west along US 10 including West Shore Community College (in Victory Township) on to Ludington.  In addition, emblematic signs are being affixed at 13 venues where live music is performed which include the Wenger Pavilion in Baldwin, Custer VFW, Scottville Clown Band Shell, West Shore Community College, select bars and restaurants in Ludington, Sandcastles Children’s Museum, Rotary Park band shell, Waterfront Park pavilion, and Shagway Arts Barn in Hamlin Township.

The trail also begins celebrating music heritage with stops at the Flamingo Club and the site of the Paradise Club, both in Idlewild.  Major black entertainers performed at these two noted venues. Other places of music history interest include the Pleasant Plains Auditorium in Baldwin, West Shore Community College, which has sponsored high-level music concerts for 30 years and WKLA Radio.  

The radio station has a unique historical relationship with Idlewild.  Arthur Braggs developed and managed the music performances emanating from the Fiesta Room in the Paradise Club during its heyday and he wanted national exposure for his musical entertainers.  WKLA owner Ray Plank agreed to provide the ABC feed to a national audience. Braggs, impressed with the voice of WKLA’s lead disc-jockey, engaged Tommy Roy to host his Saturday night musical programs.

All of the trails enhance the visitor experience by encouraging participants to use their mobile devices to hear the story.  In some cases, participants are taken on a virtual video tour; on the heritage portion, the music trail will incorporate historic photographs which will augment the audio story and for those with smart phones, they will see the quilt square painting from the road but also on their mobile device.  For the first time, the Task Force will seek some information as participants will be asked to respond to just two questions.

Participants may go to the website and will soon be able to access printable Google maps for each trail with GPS coordinates as a finding aid.  For longer trails, assistance is provided for knowing the proximity of stops allowing participants to experience a shorter portion if they desire it.

Although there is a high familiarity with sculptures in Ludington and the surrounding area, the visitor experience is greatly enriched through the integration of the OnCell technology platform enabling participants to hear the story that the artwork represents.  This greatly appreciated public art project continues to grow with 20 pieces now in place emanating from the initial core located in Waterfront Park. Now there are two sculptures on the waterfront in a site that will someday become the Ludington Maritime Heritage Park; sculptures at Mason County Fairgrounds, Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Ludington State Park, Fountain and two at Stearns Park and two more at the Mason County District Library in Ludington.  

And just when we might think the initiative is completed it is learned that there are several more in the wings including sculptures that will be dedicated to music in Scottville and Custer.

Other trails grow too.  The sculpture “Out of the Forest” in Fountain is being added to the Lumber Heritage Trail; “A Circle of Angels” quilt square painting on Phillippi Quarter Horse barn and “Thurow Pine Haven Dairy Farm” quilt square painting on the Robert Thurow barn join 10 original venues on the Barn Quilt Trail; and we are pleased to incorporate Sandcastles Children’s Museum into our cultural trail system.  It will now become a member of the Agricultural Trail given its youthful experience called “Grandpa’s Farm.”

Next month in concert with the Mason County Historical Society, the Task Force will launch it sixth cultural trail, the Mason County Maritime Heritage Trail with 22 stops.

For more information about the Mason County Cultural Economic Development Task Force and their trails, visit


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