Volunteers Needed For 2006 County Fair

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Check that garden and orchard for a perfect specimen. Finish up that special sewing or craft project. Put your prized collection in a shadow box display. It's time to get ready for the Northern Gila County Fair.

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In 2005, the Northern Gila County Fair returned to the area after two years with no one to organize it. The revitalized fair includes exhibits of everything from livestock to the homemaking arts.

But while crafters, gardeners and those raising animals put the finishing touches on their entries, the fair needs volunteers to pull the whole thing off.

"We need people to man the exhibit areas for security," said Wendell Stevens, general chairman of the 52nd Annual Northern Gila County Fair.

Volunteers are also needed to help register and place the entries. Others will be assigned to help set up the exhibit areas and take them down after the fair.

This year the fair is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 through 10, with non-animal exhibits in the Tonto Apache Tribe's gymnasium and other entries at the Payson Event Center.

"Each department must keep its own records, so clerical help is also needed," Stevens said.

He said he thinks each of the 13 departments could use four to six helpers, generally contributing only a couple of hours during the fair.

Stevens is currently being assisted by two volunteers -- Charlene Hunt, who is supervising the Event Center activities, and Gary Bedsworth, who supervises the non-animal exhibits.

Bedsworth is also serving as superintendent for the domestic science department of the fair.

"I need about six (volunteers), putting in about two hour shifts," Bedsworth said.

Glen McCombs, superintendent of the agriculture and horticulture departments, said the members of the area's garden clubs are always very helpful with the exhibits.

Still, he would welcome the assistance of anyone who is interested. McCombs said volunteers should be able to give the fair about two hours of time.

Floriculture, headed by Eileen Lawson, needs at least six people to help each day of the fair.

"I will take as many volunteers for as long as they want," said Katy Taylor, superintendent of the canning department. Having six each day would be ideal, she said.

The school exhibit often has many entries, so Superintendent Carmelita Locke would like between five and 10 people each day.

"It would be for only a couple of hours at a time, and mostly they would just make sure the students didn't take away their entries until the fair was over," Locke said.

"The volunteers would also need to tidy the exhibits after people have visited and handled things, leaving them out of place."

To volunteer in a specific department, call the superintendent listed in the sidebar of this article. For more general assignments, call Stevens at (928) 595-0113.

"People often say they want to help wherever we need them. Those people can get in touch with me or my assistant chairs," Stevens said. He would like to have all the volunteers lined up by mid-August.

Fair books, with entry information and forms, will be available in August.

To volunteer for a specific department at the Northern Gila County Fair, contact superintendents by category:

Gary Bedsworth, non-animal exhibits, (928) 970-1928
Glen McCombs, agriculture and horticulture, (928) 474-6556
Eileen Lawson, floriculture, (928) 474-2784
Trudy Cory, homemaking arts, (928) 474-9578
Gary Bedsworth, domestic science (baking), (928) 970-1928
Katy Taylor, canning, (928) 978-2131
Diane Mullaly, hobbies and handicrafts, (928) 474-1470
Kathy Crane, minerals and lapidary, (928) 474-3228
Shannon Bielke, fine arts, (928) 472-7404
Ed Toliver, photography, (928) 476-4596
Carmelita Locke, school exhibits, (928) 474-3490
Tammy Umbenhauer, horse exhibits/show, (928) 978-2906
Sid Adams, livestock, (928) 468-9000
Helen Young, small animals, (928) 474-6477

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