Celebrate Western Heritage This Weekend

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Marshall Trimble headlines an all-star cast of cowboy poets and musicians at the Third Annual Rim Country Western Heritage Festival this weekend at Green Valley Park and Julia Randall Elementary School.

The festival kicks off Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the JRE gym with a doubleheader cowboy poets concert and performance of "Soiled Doves" by Prescott's highly acclaimed Blue Rose Theatre Company.

"Soiled Doves," which has run in Prescott for three years, provides a rare glimpse into life in the red light districts of the 1870s.

A matinee performance of "Soiled Doves" is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, with the cowboy poets and musicians taking the stage for a final performance at 6:30 p.m. Saturday evening.

Free daytime events Saturday at Green Valley Park include Art in the Park, featuring the work of the Rim country's finest western artists; performances by the cowboy poets from the balcony of the Rim Country Museum; a children's mini-fest with storytellers; candlemaking and other activities; and free admission to the Rim Country Museum and its new "Grazin' Saddles II" exhibit.

On Sunday, Art in the Park and the mini-fest continue along with open microphones for local cowboy poets and musicians to perform.

Besides Trimble, Arizona's official state historian, cowboy poets and musicians performing this year include Payson's own Dee Strickland "Buckshot Dot" Johnson, Sierra Vista poet and rancher Bud Strom, Phoenix-based folksinger/musician Sue Smith, and Chino Valley musician Frank Rodrigues. Also featured on the bill are musicians Barb and Chuck Casey and fiddler Bob Crose, all from Pine.

"This festival gives everyone the opportunity to get a real feel for, and to help maintain, our western culture, which we are in many ways quickly losing," said Sharesse Von Strauss, director of the Northern Gila County Historical Society, which sponsors the festival. "Plus you get to see the work of more than 20 outstanding artists, cowboy poets, authors and musical performers."

The "Grazin' Saddles II" exhibit is a reprise of the original western saddles exhibit two years ago.

"The original 'Grazin' Saddles' we did was very popular, and since then, we have acquired a much larger selection of saddles," said Von Strauss. "And in the upstairs exhibit hall there will be paintings, drawings and sculptures reflecting the life of the cowboy."

Tickets for the two evening events and the "Soiled Doves" Saturday matinee can be purchased at the Rim Country Museum or at the door of the JRE gym.

The Friday evening doubleheader is $7.50 for adults and $3 for children, while the Saturday matinee and evening cowboy poets and musicians concert are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

For more information, call the museum at 474-3483.

Schedule of Events

Friday, Sept. 13

6: 30 p.m. "Ghosts of the Mogollon Rim," a combined performance of "Soiled Doves" and the cowboy poets/musicians in the JRE gym. Admission: $7.50 general and $3 for children under 12.

Saturday, Sept. 14

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Art show on the museum grounds; free admission to Rim Country Museum and "Grazin' Saddles II."

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cowboy poets and musicians performing on the balcony of the Rim Country Museum. Free.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children's mini-fest with teepee raising, archeology exhibit and lots of fun activities.

2 p.m. "Soiled Doves," JRE gym. Admission: $5 general and $3 for children under 12.

6:30 Cowboy poets and musicians, JRE gym. Admission: $5 general and $3 for children under 12.

Sunday, Sept. 15

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open microphones; free admission to Rim Country Museum and "Grazin' Saddles II."

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Art show on the museum grounds.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children's mini-fest with a trio of storytellers added to the activities.

(Unless otherwise noted, all activities will take place at the Rim Country Museum in Green Valley Park, at the west end of Main Street and just north of the lake.)

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