Sleepy Towns Offer Plenty Of Fun

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Pine and Strawberry are small mountain hamlets nestled beneath the Mogollon Rim.

The Rim, formed 600 million years ago, is a 7,500-foot high, 200-mile long escarpment where trails, lakes and wildlife are a hiker's, fisherman's and camper's paradise.

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Folks living in the quaint mountain villages of Pine and Strawberry get together regularly for jam sessions.

Wild strawberries abound on the Rim and on Strawberry Mountain. The Rim country air is clean and clear, offering one of only three pure air ozone belts in the world. The night sky is amazing, an experience not to be missed.

Pine boasts 1,450 full-time households while Strawberry has 700. The population at least doubles in the summer due to wonderfully cool temperatures, especially after sunset where it can be downright chilly.

Locals and flatlanders alike enjoy the Friday night all-you-can-eat fish fries which are featured at most eating establishments.

There is a continuous stream of activities year-round in Pine and Strawberry. Restaurants, unique antique, craft and gift shops, art galleries combine with motels and inns to provide entertainment and creature comforts for tourists and summer residents.

Things to do

All summer long, there are interesting and fun activities in Pine and Strawberry.

Strawberry Schoolhouse -- built in 1895 -- this treasured landmark and registered historic site is the oldest standing schoolhouse in Arizona. It is open weekends from mid-May to mid-September.

In the 1880s, this schoolhouse was the gathering place for neighboring families for dances, picnics and meetings. Hours are Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Have a picnic lunch in the school yard. Admission is free. Many special events are scheduled throughout the summer. Call (928) 476-3547 for the latest information.

Pine Strawberry Museum in Pine provides a wonderful representation of family life, archeology and education from the time of the settlement of the area. A branch of the regional chamber of commerce, information is available about recreational activities, hiking trails as well as local accommodations and events. The museum is open through the summer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free admission. Donations are welcome. (928) 476-3547.

OK Corral Stables -- As long as the forest is open, horseback riding is available every day from Memorial Day through October. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (928) 476-4303.

Walking Tour of Historic Pine -- Pick up a booklet ($1) at the museum and take a leisurely walk through Pine taking in the historic homes, buildings and sites. (928) 476-3547.

Ranch Live-in Adventure on the Fossil Creek Llama Ranch. Milk goats, make fudge and cheese, groom and walk with llamas and participate in all ranch activities while living in a tepee or yurt. Campfire cooking is part of the experience. "We want to provide a real world experience," says Joyce Bittner, co-owner. Call John or Joyce at (928) 476-5178 for more information.

What's on tap

MAY 24-25

Arts and Crafts Festival, the first of three for the summer, at the Pine Community Center. More than 80 crafters will feature their handmade arts and crafts. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (928) 476-4480.

MAY 24-25

Kiwanis pancake breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. at the Pine Community Center.

JUNE 2

POW Escape Film, "The One That Got Away." The story of German fighter Franz von Werra's escape from POW camps in Britain and Canada. Big-screen showing, 7 p.m. in the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall. Free admission, donations appreciated. (928) 476-3547 or (928) 476-4791.

JUNE 6-7

Quilt Show in Pine Community Center Cultural Hall sponsored by the Strawberry Patchers. About 100 quilts, some old and some new, from local collections will be on display. Watch quilters working on these masterpieces, and one frame will be set up for a hands-on experience. Amazing display of talent and craft. There will also be a boutique with handcrafted items for sale. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $1. Nearby, at the Pine Museum, the Lacy Ladies will be demonstrating the art of lace-making.

JUNE 7-8

Strawberry Festival in the heart of Strawberry from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Food, craft vendors, all sorts of strawberry stuff including strawberry jalapeno jelly, chutney or salsa. Strawberry ice cream, shortcake, pies and drinks. Local restaurants also have prepared strawberry specialties. Sponsored by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, this event promises fun for the whole family. Information booth in Pine. Shuttle service will be provided from Pine. (928) 476-3064.

JUNE 8

Strawberry Jam Music Festival Sunday, as part of the Strawberry Festival, with featured professionals and amazing local talent as well as an open mic and jam sessions. Bring your harmonica, kazoo, guitar, zither, flute or favorite story or old joke. Join in or spread your blanket under the pines and sit back and enjoy the music. Bring chairs or blankets.

JUNE 7-8

Strawberry Schoolhouse -- living historians in costume provide a unique experience including demonstrations of antique cameras, printing press and other period items. Also a riverboat gambler with roulette wheel and an authentic 1800s tent show by "Spencer and Jackson Traveling Troupe." An interactive experience for the whole family. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

JUNE 9

POW Escape Film, "The Password is Courage," the story of British soldier Charlie Coward's escape and his sabotage of the German war effort. 7 p.m. in the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall. Free admission, donations appreciated. (928) 476-3547 or (928) 476-4791.

JUNE 16

POW Escape Film, "The Wooden Horse," the little known story of three British officers who escaped from a German POW camp and made it back to England. 7 p.m. in the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall. Free admission, donations appreciated. (928) 476-3547 or (928) 476-4791.

JUNE 18

Old-Time Fiddlers Jam Session, 1 p.m. in the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall. These very popular sessions are held on the third Wednesday of each month all year. Everyone is invited to join the fun. It's free. Bring your instrument and join in or just sit, relax and enjoy the foot-stomping, hand-clapping music. Our local talent will amaze you. (928) 476-3547

JUNE 21

Fashion Show at Pine Artisans in Pine. A fund-raiser for Pine/Strawberry Take Pride. Refreshments, live music, door prizes and fun. 6 to 9 p.m. $10 advanced or $15 at the door. (928) 476-3700.

JUNE 23

POW Escape Film, "The Colditz Story," a group of determined British, French, Dutch and Polish servicemen proved that Germany's Colditz Castle was not escape-proof. 7 p.m. in the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall. Free admission, donations appreciated. (928) 476-3547 or (928) 476-4791.

JULY 5-6

Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Fair Pine Community Center. Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at 7 a.m.

JULY 5

Community 4th of July Celebration. Fireworks, if permissible, plus fun, food and games for the whole family. Sponsored by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and paid for from proceeds from the Strawberry Festival. Public invited. Free admission.

JULY 7

108th Army National Guard Band will play a concert at the Pine Community Center at 7 p.m. Brought back by popular demand, this is a definite favorite event every year. (928) 476-3547

JULY 16

Old-Time Fiddlers Jam Session. 1 p.m. in the Pine Community Center Cultural Hall. (928) 476-3547

JULY 19

Wyatt Earp -- A Life on the Frontier. The story Hollywood did not tell. This is a real-life descendent of the original Wyatt. Not to be missed. Pine Community Center Cultural Hall, 7 p.m. Admission, $5.

JULY 26

Silent Auction at Cyd's in Pine, a fund-raiser for Pine Strawberry Take Pride. Preview begins at 5 p.m. Auction items welcomed in advance. Refreshments, entertainment and fun. (928) 476-2429.

AUG. 30

Fall Festival at Fossil Creek Llama Ranch in Strawberry, a fund-raiser for Pine Strawberry Take Pride. See goats and llamas, milking, cheese and fudge making. Chili, barn dance, hay ride and fun. (928) 476-5178

AUG. 30-31

Pine-Strawberry Arts & Crafts Fair. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Last fair of the season. Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

OCT. 11-12

Rim Country Antique and Craft Show and antique and appraisal clinic featuring HGTV's Harry Rinker who will be giving verbal appraisals in a public forum. $10 per item for appraisal. Tickets for appraisal on sale at Pine Museum. Event is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Pine Community Center and Pine School gymnasium. There will also be a silent auction. Admission is free. (928) 476-3547.

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