Festival To Revive Town's Fun Factor

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The Payson Stampede Street Festival is the newest in a series of festivals and events that Main Street Project Manager Carol McCauley hopes will revitalize the town's reputation as the festival capital of Arizona.

The Stampede, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, will be held in conjunction with a 24-hour mountain bike race June 18-19. McCauley will ask the town council on Thursday evening for permission to close Main Street from the fire station to South McLane Road for the festivities.

"We have the Payson Art League involved, and they're going to be putting up a section of fine art," McCauley said. "We're going to have a children's section; we've put out applications for crafters; I'm going to be hitting the restaurants in town to see if they'd be willing to come on board and do a taste of Payson at the festival; and we're going to have music and entertainment."

Three will also be an antiques area.

McCauley hopes the bike race, being staged by Tucson Racing, Inc., will provide a solid base of attendees.

"The race itself is anticipated to bring in 600-800 participants," McCauley said. "Historically, for these types of events, each participant will bring approximately 2.3 support people, and this creates a captive audience of roughly 1,400 people."

The event fulfills part of a mandate from the town council.

"Payson was once known as the festival capital of Arizona," she said, "and efforts are being made to return us to that place of distinction. As part of the 2004-2005 Corporate Strategic Plan, we were given direction to create three to four main events for the Main Street area."

Counting the Electric Light Parade scheduled for Dec. 3 and the Classic Car Show this Saturday, this will be third such event on Main Street. McCauley believes the Stampede has the potential to match the popularity of the other two.

"We're hoping maybe three years from now to have people say, ‘Oh, the Payson Stampede Festival is this weekend, and by the way they have this great mountain bike race going at the same time.'"

For more information, or for a vendor's booth application, call the Town of Payson Main Street Office at (928) 468-6074.

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