Join The Festivities

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Enjoy a toe-tappin', swingin' good time this summer in the cool pines of the Rim country.

From rodeos to golf tournaments, blues festivals to fiddle contests, there's action around just about every corner. Here's the summer schedule:

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Patriotism is part of the fabric of small-town life, and Payson is no exception. The Fourth of July and other patriotic holidays offer locals and visitors alike the opportunity to celebrate, with Green Valley Park the site of Payson's annual Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza.

June 2: Payson Choral Society Spring Concert

Themed "Humor in Music," performances will be at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Payson High School auditorium. Tickets for adults are $7, and there is no charge for children high school age and younger.

June 2-3: Spring Garden Tour

Rim Area Gardeners present a tour of some of the Rim country's most beautifully landscaped homes and gardens from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at Ace Hardware, Plant Fair Nursery, Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and Payson Public Library. Contact: Mary Nolan, (520) 472-4544.

June 8-9: Classic Car Show

The Rim Country Classic Auto Club's 8th Annual Charity Car Show is a two-day event in the Mazatzal Casino parking lot. Festivities begin with a Burger Burn from 6-8 p.m. Friday. Registration is at 6 a.m. Saturday, with the show open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. A special poker run will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Spectators can examine classic street rods, hot rods and antique cars. Enjoy food and refreshments served by local service organizations while you're browsing. The burger burn is $4.50, and the car show is free to the public. Contact: Norm Atkins, (520) 472-7273.

June 8-9: Square Dance Festival

The Zane Grey Twirlers present their 21st Annual Square and Round Dance Festival at the Tonto Apache Activity Center. The schedule includes workshops and dances, and a free continental breakfast and welcome dance Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Tickets for the two-day event are $20 at the door and $18 for people who pre-register. Single admission is $7 for each dance and $3 for each workshop. On Friday, pre-rounds start at 7 p.m., with the mainstream and plus square dance beginning at 8 p.m. The round dance workshop is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the square dance workshop is from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pre-round starts that night at 7 p.m., the grand march at 7:45 p.m. and the mainstream and plus square dance starts at 8 p.m. Caller is Dave Guille from Cheyenne Wyo.; rounds will be by Mike and Linda Liberti from Sun Lakes, Ariz. For more information, call Elva or Casey Jones, (520) 474-8773.

June 9: June Bug Blues Festival

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Headline blues performers such as Teddy Morgan have made Payson's annual June Bug Blues Festival one of the hottest tickets in town.

Payson music master Joe Harless invites young and old alike to get the blues at the Payson Event Center during Payson's 8th Annual June Bug Blues Festival. Gates open and the music starts at 11 a.m., with 11 continuous hours of some of the hottest blues performed by some of the country's coolest cats, including the James Matthews Band, Luther Tatum, Big Daddy D and the Dynamites, the Backseat Howlers featuring Gus Harless, SHRI, Idle Wild, Buzzard Luck, Paris James, Stephan George, and UVON and the Blues Knights.

Harless has added a giant rock climbing wall this year, and food vendors will be serving barbecue, roasted corn, iced cappuccino and Chicago-style hot dogs. Capping off the blues-filled fest is an evening performance by the Gary Primich Band from Austin, Texas. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children 16 and under, and are available at the gate. For more information, call Shaker Music at (520) 472-7393.

June 23: Concert Under the Stars

Al Raitano performs big band vocals and standards at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

June 30: Concert Under the Stars

Rhythm City Express performs rhythm and blues at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

July 4: Payson fireworks

The July 4th Family Fun Day begins at 3 p.m. with games and activities at the Green Valley Park amphitheater. Then unpack your picnic basket and sit back and enjoy live family entertainment by Western Bred from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Patriotic Payson's free fireworks display takes place over Green Valley Lake following the concert. For more information, call the Town of Payson at (520) 474-5242, ext. 7.

July 7: Concert Under the Stars

The John Scott Band performs blues and rock at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

July 14: Concert Under the Stars

The Shady Creek Band performs bluegrass music at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

July 21: Concert Under the Stars

Deja Vu performs big band and swing at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

July 28: Concert Under the Stars

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With vehicles on display such as Brad Smith's 1967 Camaro, the Rim Country Classic Auto Club's annual car show at the Tonto Apache Activity Center is sure to be a hit with attendees.

Due West Trio performs classic cowboy and Western music at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

Aug. 4: Concert Under the Stars

Cody! performs '50s and '60s rock and country music at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

Aug. 4: Art in the Park

Local and visiting artists display their creations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Green Valley Park. Held in conjunction with the town's Concert Under the Stars series, attendees also can enjoy the music of Cody!

Aug. 11: Concert Under the Stars

The town-sponsored concert series concludes its season with Affinity performing variety and dance music at Green Valley Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Admission is free.

Aug. 17-19: World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo

The August Doin's are the best way to cap off a summer of fun in the Rim country. The PRCA-sanctioned rodeo continually draws the sport's top cowboys, including past visits by such celebrities as all-around champion Ty Murray.

The four-day event kicks off Thursday night with jackpot barrel racing and ends with the award presentations Sunday afternoon. In between, there'll be plenty of chills, thrills and spills as the sport's top cowboys compete for points and prize money. Saturday's rodeo parade begins at 9 a.m. on the Beeline Highway.

Aug. 31-Sept. 2: Rim Country Western Heritage Festival

The second annual Rim Country

Western Heritage Festival features the nation's best cowboy poets in concert at the Rim Country Museum, plus an authentic old-fashioned Western melodrama at the Payson High School auditorium, plus Art in the Park at Green Valley Park. Other Western events include shootouts, dance exhibitions, a Western book signing and more. Contact: Rim Country Museum, (520) 474-3483.

Sept. 22: Golf Tournament

Not for serious golfers, the 3rd Annual TeeHee Golf Tournament puts golf enthusiasts to the test with all kinds of silly shots. Contestants are asked to do such things as putt with brooms and drive while standing on innertubes. All proceeds benefit the Payson Youth Organization.

Sept. 29-30: Old Time Fiddlers' State Championship

As the sun sets on a summer of fun, there's one more musical event to get your toes tappin' before snuggling in for the winter. The Old Time Fiddlers' State Championship tunes up at the Payson Event Center for a two-day fiddle fest. Contestants come from around the state to see who has what it takes to represent Arizona at the national finals in Weiser, Idaho. The Payson competition features such old-time classic contests as twin fiddles and trick-and-fancy. There's also a 21-fiddle salute, fiddle making demonstrations, storytelling, cowboy poets and more.

Oct. 13-14: Payson Rimstones Gem and Mineral Show

Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tonto Apache Activity Center. Admission is $3 $2 with a coupon.

For more information about these or any other happenings in the Rim country, contact the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce at (520) 474-4515.

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