Banquet Helps Historical Society Stay Afloat

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As the Northern Gila County Historical Society struggles to stay in the black, the non-profit organization's 14th annual banquet and fund-raiser is even more important this year.

The event, scheduled for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, in the Mazatzal Casino banquet room, features an entertaining speaker, live musical performances, a live auction, a $1,000 raffle, and door prizes. Tickets are $25 each and include a choice of entrees -- prime rib au jus or chicken a' la bonne femme.

The guest speaker, Dr. Peter Booth, will speak on "The Lame Duck Territory: Corruption -- Arizona Style."

Bob Charameda will serve as auctioneer, with donated auction items including jewelry by Dick Wolfe and Jim Garrity, an airplane ride by Robert Henley, a ride on the Verde Railroad, filled baskets, and much more.

After operating at a deficit for a long period of time, NGCHS moved into the black just this year.

"Boy, we were in the red," President Tom McGuigan said. "It was getting to the point where we were going to have to close the doors; we couldn't pay the bills."

The society, which has about 250 members, operates the Rim Country Museum, the Museum of Rim Country Archaeology, and is slated to operate the Zane Grey cabin under construction adjacent to the Rim Country Museum in Green Valley Park.

"When it's all finished and up and running, we'll take it over," McGuigan said. "We're talking about it being open seven days a week."

Besides member dues, donations, fund raisers and museum admissions, NGCHS receives limited financial support from the town of Payson.

"The town supported us last fiscal year and they have given us $10,000 for this fiscal year," McGuigan said. "But it costs $36-40,000 a year to operate both the museums."

Banquet tickets are available at the two museums, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, and from any society member.

Join the society

The Northern Gila County Historical Society, a non-profit corporation founded in 1986, is operated by an 11-person board of directors elected by its 250 members.

Applications to join the society are available at the Rim Country Museum. Annual cost is $25 for an an individual and $35 for a family, both of which include free admission to the museum, a bi-monthly newsletter, and invitations to private museum events. A number of membership clubs are also available.

The society can always use more people to work on the different events and activities under its purview. To volunteer, call Tom McGuigan at (928) 474-4140 or (928) 474-3483.

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