Looking for some lapidary? Seen any good bromeliads lately? Checking out chutney for your table? You'll find all that and more this weekend at the Northern Gila County Fair in Pine.
Such touches of down home Americana will warm your heart as you peruse the exhibits and converse with Rim country residents bursting with pride as they point out their award-winning squash, photo, or prickly pear jelly entries.
Special experiences like these are why the dynamic duo of Walt and Willene Smith, co-chairpersons and husband and wife, continue to dedicate hours upon hours of volunteer time to this annual extravaganza.
"I was reminded of why I do it when I saw Carol Lee pushing her dad in his wheelchair toward his entry, and then saw the tears in his eyes when he won a blue ribbon," Willene said. "I'm just a softy."
Walt echoed her sentiments almost verbatim. "When the kids come in and see their blue ribbons, the smiles on their faces make it all worthwhile. Not to mention when the old-timers come to collect their ribbons and checks and the tears are streaming down their faces," Walt said.
But the fair is memorable for other reasons as well, including the animals. Here you can come face to face with a llama, bid on a steer, or settle in the shade of the grandstand for the horse show.
Or you can see ducks, guinea pigs, rabbits and chickens fussed over by their conscientious young 4-H and FFA owners as they anxiously await the judging.
The Northern Gila County Fair is truly an event for kids of all ages.
To get there, take Highway 87 North from Payson about 15 miles. The Community Center is in the center of Pine on the west side of 87.
The exhibit building and other outbuildings will host the stationary exhibits, while all animal-related activities will take place at the Mary Ellen Randall Arena eight-tenths of a mile south of the Community Center.
A free shuttle bus runs between the two venues, or you can take Highway 87 south from the Community Center to Old County Road and turn right.
Schedule of Events
Noon - 4:00 p.m. Exhibit Building open
10:00 a.m. Weigh in for 4-H/FFA Livestock Animals
10:00 a.m. Driving Classes
2:00 p.m. Judging of Livestock Showmanship Classes
4:00 p.m. Working Ranch Horse Jackpot
7:00 - 8:00 a.m. Small Animal check-in
8:00 a.m. Open Horse Show
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Exhibit Building open
11:00 a.m. 4-H/FFA Livestock Auction
Noon Buyers Dinner
7:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Llama Show
7:00 a.m. - 8 a.m. Small Animal judging
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Exhibit Building open
1:00 p.m. Horse Fun Day