Return Of Fair Promises Fun, Plus A View Of Our Very Best


County fairs are a hallmark of old-fashioned fun. They are also a cornerstone in the creation of a community.

At fairs we get to share our best -- the best of our cooking, our photography, our skills as gardners or caretakers of animals -- and learn a little more about our neighbors. County fairs also provide an opportunity to take the time to build family bonds in a fun-filled atmosphere.

The return of the Northern Gila County Fair, Sept. 9-11, should be greeted with delight and high praise for the people who are making it possible.

Two years have passed since Walt and Wilene Smith brought the 50th Annual Northern Gila County Fair to Pine.

This year, the event will be held at the Payson Event Center and at the Tonto Apache Reservation.

While the location is new, the flavor of the fair will remain the same -- homegrown, homemade and "old-fashioned."

The Smiths, who guided the fair for many years, have assisted in bringing it back to life. They believe the fair should preserve the history and backgrounds of our small, mountain communities, and the successors share that belief.

"It is our hope that we can continue to honor the rich history of our communities, and the individuals and families who created this history," said Chairman Wendell Stevens in his welcoming remarks in the fair book.

The volunteers helping Stevens and the Smiths bring the fair back are steering committee members Charlene Hunt, Tammy Umbenhauer, Tessie Flores, Vivian Burdett, Gary Bedsworth, Bobbie Miller and Cathy Stevens. They still need the help of volunteers to make the event a success. Those interested can call Bedsworth at (928) 970-1928.

The fair books are at the Payson Parks and Recreation Department office in Green Valley Park, the Payson Public Library and the Pine Public Library. Entry numbers and tags are also available at these sites. Entry dates are Sept. 7 for the horse show, Sept. 8 for general exhibits and Sept. 9 for small animals.

There is no fee to enter fair exhibits, so start making plans to share your best with your Rim Country neighbors and our visitors.

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