Memorial Day is just around the corner. That marks the beginning of our summer activities and brings lots of weekenders and visitors to our communities. Encourage your guests to check out our terrific local businesses and our museum. Do remind everyone to be especially careful about fire.
You are invited to a luau hosted by Strawberry's Elite. The event is from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21, at the Mogollon Steak House. All funds are used for children and families in need in our communities. Tickets are $13 each or $25 for two and can be purchased at the door. Trouble in Paradise will provide live music for this festive event.
Many have been asking about the progress of the fuel reduction program. The next step for the fuel break around Pine and Strawberry is to bring in goats that will remove all new growth. Grass seed will be spread and the goats will work the seed into the ground with their hooves. Once the grasses grow, the Forest Service can safely conduct controlled low burns. This cycle will continue year after year which will keep the fuel break clean and accessible to firefighters. This ongoing program offers a fuel break that can be maintained with minimal cost. The fuel break is open for hikers.
As for the brush pick up service, too many people are hiring private companies to remove fuels and those fuels are being left to be picked up by this program. This service is provided only to private property owners who are doing their own cutting and thinning. Private companies have their own equipment and hauling away the debris should be included in the cost. The program is very backlogged and no further names will be added until this backlog is reduced.
Get your kids, grandkids and young summer visitors signed up for the Pine Library's Summer Reading Program on Thursdays through June. The theme is "Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales" and promises to have lots of special guests and wonderful surprises.
Pine Library Friends will have their book sale and raffle from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, in the Library Activity Room. There is a large selection of junior and children's books. Pick up books for the children's summer reading and yours also. Buy raffle tickets for the Specialty Tea Basket for which the drawing will be held during the Labor Day Book Sale.
Eighty-four crafters will take part in the 26th annual Pine Strawberry Arts and Craft show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 27, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 28. There will be jewelry, clothing, woodcrafts, candles, paintings, hand-carved bears and other carvings and much more. Strawberry Patchers and Tonto Search and Rescue will have booths and sell raffle tickets. The P/S Fire Department will serve pancakes both mornings from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The fire department will answer your questions about our worrisome fire season. Children can get their faces painted and romp in the playground. The proceeds from this event go back to the community. They support the museum, food bank, library, senior center, Tonto squad, guardian angel program and other organizations that show a need for funds.
The Justice McNeely Foundation receives many "thank you's" from families with children who have benefited from these funds to help with medical bills. The foundation has funds available for children in the Pine, Strawberry and Payson areas who need medical assistance. For more information, call (928) 476-4722 or (928) 476-2406.
How fortunate are the children in our small communities to have the opportunity to participate in summer drama classes and workshops. Children in grades K through 12 are invited to participate. Classes will be taught by Sandy Carver, a retired high school drama teacher. She is eager to share her craft and her knowledge. What fun for the children. Acting builds confidence and self esteem. Call Sandra for more information at (928) 476-4682.
The Strawberry Festival will spread from Pine to Strawberry this year from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11. The art and craft booths will be at the Pine Community Center with music, food and fun. In Strawberry, there will be music, food, fun and games for all. Save this weekend. Restaurants in both communities will have lots of delightful strawberry items on the menu.
The Strawberry Patcher's Quilt Show will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, June 9, 10 and 11, in the Cultural Hall at the Pine Community Center. This is an amazing display. Don't miss it.
Myra from Myra's Gallery reports that all the children who attended the Activity Day during the Dyslexic Art Show had a wonderful time and loved the hands-on experience with the artists. The speakers were wonderful. The art exhibit is on display at Myra's through May 21. All the juice remaining from the Children's event has been donated to the P/S Food Bank and the art supplies, donated by the Payson Art League, are being given to the Head Start Program in Payson.