Saturday is Pioneer Day one of my favorite events of the summer. On a sad note, there will be no parade.
The Arizona Department of Transportation denied the Pine-Strawberry Archeological and Historical Society permission to close the highway, but society officials are already working to get authorization for a parade next year.
But all is not lost the Pioneer Day Celebration at the Pine Community Center in downtown Pine will have all the small-town appeal you're looking for on a summer day.
The fun starts at 9 a.m., as 4-H members will be preparing for their demonstrations. Rim country 4-H members of all ages will give speeches about their current projects.
There will be games, rides and a vintage car display. The Pine-Strawberry Arts-n-Crafts Guild will open the craft room doors to shoppers. There will be critters to pet, ride and walk.
At 11 a.m., the historical society will start serving up barbecue dinners with beans, coleslaw, roll and desert for $5 in the cultural hall.
Local band "Trouble in Paradise" will provide entertainment.
But the day won't end there. At 7 p.m. folks can gather under the ramada for an old-time fiddlers concert. At 8 p.m., a teen dance will take place in the cultural hall. There is something for everyone at this event. The more support the event gets this year, the better chance the historical society will have of getting the parade back next year. I'll see you there.
If you'd like to see what this annual fund-raiser supports, take a moment to tour the Pine Museum during Pioneer Day, when the historical society will unveil a special exhibit featuring local artifacts.
The exhibit will include some of the instruments that Dr. Christian Risser used at the turn of the century when he was the only doctor in Gila County. The instruments are on loan from his grandson, optometrist Dr. Christian Risser III.
A number of other pioneer families have loaned the museum artifacts for this limited engagement. The historical society counts on donations and this single fund-raiser to provide such community enrichment services.
On a more solemn note, we lost friend and Pine resident Ellie Meister Sunday morning. She and her husband, author Charles Meister, have been in Pine for 18 years and have donated time and energy to many local causes.
Ellie was a dedicated supporter of the Pine Library Friends, she worked in a program that helped women complete their educations and she was a pianist and a member of the choir at Payson Methodist Church. She was truly a special woman, and I was fortunate to have known her.
Ellie's memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 22 at the Payson Methodist Church.