125th Celebration Brought Out The Best For Residents, Visitors

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"The 125th parade was the most beautiful I have ever seen in Payson," Anna Mae Deming said.

She said she way it was organized by time periods, and the way people dressed up and made their entry reflect the town as it matured, made the parade special.

The winning entries were:

1882-1910: Chaparral Pines and The Rim Golf Club

1911-1929: The Michaels in their town car

1930-1945: Presbyterian Church

1946-1959: Swiss Village

1960-present: Artists of the Rim Gallery

Listeners paid wide-eyed attention as storytellers spun tales and told how it was back when ...

Jinx Pyle's first tale of the day was about his father Gene being sent out to kill a squirrel -- not in the head, because we need the brains to tan the hide, not in the body because we need the body to eat. He was to shoot the squirrel in the neck. (He hit the first one in the head and said he had to shoot nine squirrels to get enough brains to tan one hide.)

"My grandpa (he settled Little Green Valley) said the post office was the seed of this town," Marty Stuckenberg said. She read from her grandfather's account of settling Little Green Valley, just east of Payson.

A number of people got into the spirit of the party and came decked out in Western attire.

Dave Palmateer, a member of the Cowboy Action Shooters, won in the costume contest's authentic category.

Marilyn Andrews won the reproduction category for her handmade dress of a pastor's wife (her husband in real life in the Rev. Lowell Andrews).

"The high point of my Sunday was the call back I received from Mrs. Warren Wegenke of Payson who won the 125th quilt -- she was just tickled," 125th chair, Ginger Schoettinger said.

"Last year, the Lord got mad at me and it rained," Eddie Armer told the crowd amidst playing songs.

The audience tapped their feet to tunes from a variety of fine musicians.

Friends Janine Tantimonaco and Alana Child sang "God Bless the USA" in a surprise performance, before accomplished guitarist Lee Silby took the stage at the museum.

Tyler McVey kept Peaches, aka Sara Andy the APS clown, busy painting a dolphin on his arm.

"Coming to the festival was a bonus," said, Tom Gardener of Phoenix said as he and his family exited Zane Grey's cabin. They were on their way to hike the Natural Bridge, when they stopped to share in Payson's celebration.

"It was a great birthday party. We threw it and some people chose to come, not everybody, but that is OK. I think it was successful," Schoettinger said.

In addition to the dozen "volunteers who were there, whenever," Schoettinger needed something done, there were many unsung heroes.

Many residents helped in ways big and small and there was not a town staff member who was not ready and willing to help, she said.

There were people who took care of the lambs that arrived for the mutton bustin'.

Other came from out of town with their parade entries and paid for their own meals and hotel rooms.

Still others baked cakes.

The committee will meet to take care of thank you's, discuss what went without a hitch and what could have been planned better later in October.

There are still some commemorative pins available at the Rim Country Museum.

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