125th Anniversary Plans Lead To Memorable Occasion

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As Payson's 125th anniversary celebration draws near, organizers are adding more features to make the occasion a memorable one.

New developments include a time capsule to be opened on the 200th anniversary, a golf tournament, a historic quilt display and performances by a miniature horse drill team.

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The building trades class at Payson high school built this wagon from the ground up for the Payson Historical Society and the 125th Anniversary of Payson. The class is taught by Richard Alvarez. Pictured outside the wagon: Ryan Roberts, Joey Lootans, Sam Shearer and Mickey Willig; Inside: Joe Allaire, T.J. Harris, Jake Watson, Frank Rowland, Kevin Watchman, Mike Wicks, Brett Cline and B. J. Hill.

The celebration begins on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and spans six days of activities designed to honor the town's wild Western heritage.

On the first day of festivities, residents will have the chance to put items into a time capsule. Participants will then bury the capsule, said Ginger Schoettinger, one of the organizers of the anniversary bash.

"We'll put in things like one of our belt buckles, personal items people want buried and the newspaper for that week," Schoettinger said. "It's objects specific for Payson at that day and time, so they have historical significance."

The capsule's resting spot has not yet been decided, but planners are considering holding a contest for location ideas or leading a scavenger hunt to a predetermined place, Schoettinger said.

Payson's 125th Anniversary Steering Committee is also hosting a golf tournament on Friday, Oct. 5, at the Payson Golf Course. As determined Tuesday at a committee meeting, participants will get a shot at scoring some green on the green, with the chance to win $5,000 for a hole-in-one on the fifth hole.

To add historic flavor, "colorful characters" will provide entertainment throughout the course. After the game, players can relax and enjoy a barbecue, featuring Western music and prize giveaways.

Teams of four may enter this scramble. The cost per person is $90, with proceeds benefiting the Northern Gila County Historical Society.

Local businesses that sponsor holes for $125 apiece will receive golf hole flags containing the official 125th anniversary logo and the company name, among other souvenirs, according to a Steering Committee news release.

Mini Mystique horse drill team, a miniature horse precision driving team based in Phoenix, is a sight not to be missed in the Timeline Parade on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Earlier this year, the group performed at the famous Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

The team might also stage an additional military-style drill at the Payson Event Center on Sunday, Oct. 7, the final day of the anniversary celebration, Schoettinger said.

To ensure stable footing for the smaller horses, the town "would have to scrape back loose dirt in the rodeo arena," Schoettinger said. "We're going to have to roll it and pack it or pull up some of the dirt and move it. Hopefully, the team will stay an extra day."

Another addition to the week's fun-filled schedule is a display at the Rock Building highlighting about 50 historic quilts.

"The quilts are at least 25 years old and most have some Payson history to them," Schoettinger said.

A sign next to each quilt will reveal its personal story. People will also be on hand to discuss how to properly store quilts, Schoettinger said.

In addition, art entered in the local 125th anniversary art contest will be on display in the coming months in various businesses around town. A silent auction will be held for all pieces except the winner. Proceeds will be donated to the Northern Gila County Historical Society, Schoettinger said.

Check the official website of Payson's 125th Anniversary Celebration for continued updates. Visit http://www. paysons125th.com/.

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