Our Story....simple but true!
The Northern Michigan Lamb & Wool Festival got its start in 1998,
when Jeanie Prentice went to the Ogemaw County Fair, and the Michigan
Fiber Festival (MFF) at Allegan, in the same week. She was enchanted with MFF
and felt the beautiful Ogemaw County Fairgrounds
had a lot of potential for hosting its own fiber festival. Jeanie was
particularly interested in trying to bring together shepherds who were
interested primarily in wool and those interested primarily in meat
Another thought was that she found running her own farm and
trying to be a vendor at MFF was difficult, because of the distance.
Reasoning that other northern Michigan vendors might have the same
experience, she approached her local fiber guild and asked what others
thought. Two members, Jeanne Stock and Mary Reinke, were immediately
interested and promised to help. And the process began.
The next step was to look for
funding to start the festival, and to build a relationship with the fair
board. Jeanie talked to local shepherd and shearer, Jim Bristol, who arranged a
donation of $500 from the Michigan Sheep Breeders Association, and $500 from the local sheep group, and assisted in gaining approval from the fair board for the use of the fairgrounds.
The first festival opened in 2000 with a recipe for success that can't be beat: treat vendors, teachers, students, and other attendees as friends, and make the festival feel like a family reunion. The hardworking efforts of the committees and volunteers has made this the friendliest little fiber festival around. As Jeanie says, "We may not be the biggest, but we aim to please!"