Stampede Street Festival Rumbles Into Town

RIM REVIEW

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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 the mountain bike race June 18-19. During the festival, Main Street will be closed from the fire station to South McLane Road.

"We have 127 vendors signed up to participate in this event," McCauley told the town council last week. "We have artists. We have jewelers. We have wood carvers, spices and herbs, hand-crocheted items and much, much more.

"Our food vendors include Greek food, Mexican food, bratwurst, barbecue, roasted pork, homemade ice cream, snow cones, and, again, much more.

"We have music, kids' entertainment," she continued. "We have a kids' train that's going to go up and down the street, puppeteers. We have a horse-drawn carriage that will take people up and down Main Street."

There 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 held in May, 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, call the Town of Payson Main Street Office at (928) 468-6074.

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