Planning Begins For Payson's 125th Anniversary

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The 125th anniversary of Payson, coming up in Fall 2007, provides old-timers and newcomers an opportunity to collaborate on a communitywide celebration of the area's history and future.

"It is going to be exciting," said Diane Sexton, Northern Gila County Historical Society (NGCHS) board member. "This will involve people from every walk of life."

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The early days of Payson as seen from Frontier Street.

And it takes a community to enrich the historical significance of the town, especially the character of its center -- Main Street.

"We want to have a Main Street," she said. "It's developing the history of Main Street."

But before a celebration of this magnitude takes root, it needs an identity.

NGCHS is calling all local artists to create artwork that depicts the essence of Rim Country history.

The winning entry will serve as the logo and publicity centerpiece of the promotion campaign.

Submit your ideas from now until Jan. 31 to the Rim Country Museum at Green Valley Park.

The museum will incorporate the artwork into its permanent collection of Rim Country's continuing history.

The competition is split into different categories: Adults 18 and older; high school students grades 9-12; middle school students grades 6-8, elementary school students grades 4-5 and grades K-3.

NGCHS has also established tentative plans for the two-day commemoration.

Friday, Oct. 5, 2007

The anniversary kicks off with a breakfast on Main Street. That evening, Northern Gila County Historical Society hosts a fund-raiser and dinner at the Oxbow Saloon.

Saturday, Oct.6, 2007

History buffs and festival-goers fill the asphalt of Main Street during a timeline parade. Storytellers, historical re-enactments, food, quilt exhibitors, costume judging, and music and dancing fill the afternoon with nostalgia and merrymaking.

Just down Main Street, the Western Heritage Festival begins its gala at Green Valley Park, including historical exhibits, an "art-in-the-park," and book signings by local authors. Groove to the tunes of musical KCMA's musical hosts, John and Lu Carpino as they entertain the crowd until the barbecue begins that evening.

If you're interested in volunteering or contributing your thoughts, contact Diane Sexton at (928) 474-9110.

"We're always open to more idea and better ideas," Sexton said.

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