If nature cooperates and lets the men and women fighting the forest fires get the upper hand and no more blazes start in the Rim country, there will be lots of wonderful activities to enjoy over the Independence Day weekend.
Let's all say our prayers, knock wood and cross our fingers that things go according to all the plans that have been made for the holiday -- sometimes as much as a year in advance.
There will be events throughout the Rim area to celebrate our country's 229th birthday.
Up in Christopher Creek, the community will present its annual melodrama. This year's production is "Cheerio Y'all or Miss Keyes In the Conservatory With the Feather Boa," a murder mystery by Whitney Ryan Garrity and music by Wanda West Palmer. Performances are at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, July 2 at the Christopher Creek Latter-day Saints Church. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Call (928) 468-7416 to reserve a space, and enjoy an evening of fun, laughs, and free popcorn.
Take a drive out to Christopher Creek early on July 2 and let the Christopher Creek Homeowners Association cook breakfast for you.
The group is will be having a Pancake Breakfast at Christopher/Kohl's Fire Department on Saturday, July 2, from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Prices are $2 for children under 10 and $3.50 for adults. Proceeds go to benefit the fire department for buying new equipment.
Later, again at the fire hall, the Firebelles -- the auxiliary of the fire department -- will have an ice cream social from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. All proceeds from the social go to the medical education fund program.
After breakfast in Christopher Creek, head north to Pine for the Pine Strawberry Arts and Craft Guild's 25th annual juried show. It is both Saturday, July 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, July 3 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All booth spaces are full of a variety of hand painted household items, jewelry, dolls, pillows, children's cloth books, stained glass and many other unique items for your home or gifts. The seniors will be making Navajo tacos. There will be many other food items available. Face painting and a play ground will be available for the children.
Enjoy an evening of Americana Story Songs performed by Jim Pipkin at the Rimside Grill in Pine on Saturday evening, July 2. He is one of the state's selected artists, holding a place on the Arizona Commission on the Arts roster, which sends performers to arts centers, museums and schools throughout the state. Pipkin will be performing his original songs.
Stop by the Pine library while visiting the arts and crafts fair. The Pine Library Friends are having a book sale from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 2, at the library parking lot. There is a huge selection of books, audios and videos. The prices will amaze you -- just in time to fill that summer reading bug.
After visiting the Christopher Creek and Pine areas, plan on spending July 4 at Green Valley Park in Payson. This year's event will feature a larger fireworks show and more entertainment. This is a free event the family is sure to enjoy.
The fun will take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Green Valley Park Amphitheater. There will be games, gunnysack races, tug-o-war, and other activities for all ages. Bring a picnic basket and blanket, or grab some food from one of the vendors who will be on hand, so you can sit back after a day of fun and enjoy live family entertainment by local bands.
John Carpino and The Hot Cappuccinos perform from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Claymation will be providing the entertainment from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Hot Cappuccinos is a 5-piece variety rock band performing a wonderful mix of classic rock, crossover country-rock and contemporary music. Together, the members have more than 100 years of experience in the music business. Carpino, voted Payson's favorite musician for 11 years now, has assembled some of Rim country's finest musicians -- Billy Ichida (with Junction 87) on lead guitar, Chris Campbell on drums, James Altstatt on Bass and Lu Carpino on keyboard, percussion and vocals. The combination is dynamic -- an energetic, fun sound with an emphasis on strong vocals and harmonies. In addition to original tunes, the Hot Cappuccinos play music from the 60s through today sounds from the Eagles, Van Morrison, John Mellencamp, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Marley -- just to name a few. Carpino said the band is planning to do some patriotic pieces and invite the audience to sing along.
Clay Sopeland, who grew up in Payson, is founder and lead singer for Claymation. The other members of the band are Greig Perrin, lead guitar; Kris Olsen, bass; and Marty Tkackyk, drummer. Sopeland, Perrin and Olsen have played together for nine years, Tkackyk is the new kid in the group. Sopeland said the band plays a variety of sounds including country, classic rock, contemporary rock and could be debuting an original song at the concert on July 4.
A grand patriotic traditional fireworks display over Green Valley Lake will follow.