53rd Annual Northern Gila County Fair Includes Carnival

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Celebrate summer and welcome fall and have a great time at the Northern Gila County Fair.

The 53rd Annual Northern Gila County Fair is this weekend and organizers have all kinds of fun and festivities planned.

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Sarah Sprinkle, an FFA member in Pine, takes her 225-pound Yorkshire-Hampshire cross pig for a walk. The livestock show is at 5 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Payson Event Center.

This year the fair is Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6-9. The schedule --

  • 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, Payson Event Center: 4H and FFA Livestock Show
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, Payson Event Center: exhibits
  • 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, Payson Event Center: 4H Horse Show
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, Tonto Apache Tribe Exhibit Hall: exhibits
  • 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 8, Dutch Oven Cooking Class: call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for details
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, Payson Event Center: Open Horse Show 9 a.m., Livestock Auction 5 p.m.
  • 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 8, Payson Event Center Multi Media Tent: Doggie Fun Day with basic obedience, rally, clicker training, musical freestyle, drill team, fun, special events for children
  • 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, Payson Event Center Multi Media Tent: Doggie Fun Day presentations and demonstrations.
  • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, Tonto Apache Tribe Exhibit Hall: exhibits
  • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, Tonto Apache Tribe Exhibit Hall: exhibits
  • Noon Sunday, Sept. 9, Payson Event Center: gates open for Demolition Derby, races begin at 1:30 p.m.

Special Events

The Northern Gila County Fair will be more than exhibits this year.

Special events coordinator Susie Belcher promises all kinds of interactive excitement at the 53rd Annual County Fair Sept. 7 through Sept. 9.

Get ready to be introduced to an assortment of hobby opportunities in Mini Demonstration Classes in the gym at the Tonto Apache Tribe's recreation center.

Friday, Sept. 7

  • 8 a.m. to noon - Art Classes with Shannon Bielke, who has a bachelor's in art and has taught art at various schools here in Payson.
  • 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Cake Decorating with Peggy Vaughn from Bashas'. She will give us some great ideas on how to decorate a cake, so bring a pen and paper to write down some instructions she will be demonstrating.
  • 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Scrapbooking with Brenda from Paper and Metal Scrappers. She said she is going to blow us away with some of her great ideas to make an awesome scrapbook page, also bring questions you may have about decorating your own scrapbook page.
  • 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. - Photography with Gina Perkes. Gina is going to give us some great ideas on how to take a great photo in your own home or back yard.

Saturday, Sept. 8

  • 11 a.m. to noon - Floral Arrangements. Sue from Safeway is going to give us some great tips on decorating with green plants, also how to care and transplant them, so bring your container and get some tips on how to make a real eye-catching arrangement.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Mini Kits for Kids by Home Depot. Home Depot is going to make several mini-kits for the kids, so bring your boys and girls out and let them make a kit from Home Depot.
  • 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Quilting with Quilters Outpost. Wilma from Quilters Outpost is going to demonstrate her treadle sewing machine and also show you her trunk full of the quilts she has made with this machine.
  • 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. - Jewelry Making with Juanita Swenson. She makes beautiful jewelry and she will also have a booth at the fair where she will be selling some of it, but she is going to give us some great tips on how to make some beautiful jewelry. She also has a unique method that makes for a real eye-catching piece, so come out and see her.

Additional events

These will be held at the Payson Event Center Friday and Saturday at the stage, which has lots of covered seating.

Friday, Sept. 7

  • 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. - The Gila County Fair's third annual talent show contest with $175 in prizes for first, second and third places. First prize will be $100. Second prize will be $50 and third prize will be $25. The contestants can start calling now to get on the list, contact Belcher at (928) 472-9910.

Saturday, Sept. 8

  • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. - Dancing On the Rim School of Dance. The dancers range from ages 3 to17. The instructors are Kamae Carnes and Pam Devoe and they have taught the students a combination of tap, jazz, ballet and tumbling and hip-hop. These youngsters put on a great show and are great fun to watch. The classes are open to the public. If you are interested, go to dancingonthe rim@hotmail. com.
  • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - Antique Tractor Parade. This is the third year this group has been at the fair. Last year there were six tractors in the event, and this year there will be 15 tractors. Randy Ahrens, Strawberry, always helps get this together and gets these awesome tractors to the fair; which takes a lot of dedication just getting them ready and hauling them here to the event center.

Old tractors are classed as antiques before 1939 and considered classic after 1939, most of the tractors in the parade are classics, Belcher said. There will be some 1940s and 1950s Farmalls, 1940s and 1950s John Deeres and more.

Some of these classics were found in old barns in Missouri, where they were left for more than 20 years, pushed aside by a newer tractor until the owner in Pine found out about them and hauled them back here to be restored.

One that Randy and Martha Ahrens own was found in Williams, Ariz. and rescued from a KOA barn and hauled to Strawberry in boxes where the long process of restoration took place. It made its first appearance six years ago in Winslow's parade.

These tractors take years to restore and you can tell the pride of ownership when you see them. There are so many neat stories to listen to about these tractors, so come out to the fair and see these guys because they love talking about tractors. Many of the tractors and their owners will be available for the entire fair.

  • 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Payson High School Drama Class will be back, they will be performing a variety of acts from improv to dance.
  • 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Zane Grey Twirlers, a square dance group that has been around for 26 years and has more than 100 members. They will be performing a total of four songs; Bob Jones is the caller (instructor) and this group really gets things jazzed up. They also are starting lessons Sept. 12, so this is the perfect time to come out and watch and see if this is something you will be interested in doing.

There will be a craft fair at the tribe's recreation center, along with the how-to demonstrations. There will be music, food and crafts for sale, along with all the exhibits.

At the event center, along with the stage shows and tractor show, there will be pony rides and a petting zoo, with a huge variety of animals with which children can interact. The event center exhibits and displays will be in place and open through Saturday night.

A carnival will be at the fair all weekend, along with a rock-climbing wall. This wall is three stories high -- the largest of its kind. Also, people will be at the fair doing face painting all weekend.

Call Susie Belcher at (928) 472-9910 if you want to be in on the talent show Friday, Sept. 7.

Once again a Doggie Fun Day will be part of the fair, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 under the big, white tent at the Payson Event Center.

From 10 a.m. to noon, there will be a Play, Practice and Learn session in which dogs and their owners can work on basic obedience, rally, clicker training, musical freestyle, drill team and fun, plus there will be special events just for children.

Beginning at 1 p.m., it's time for Show What You've Learned, with presentations and demonstrations and lots of prizes and ribbons.

Registration for the Doggie Fun Day activities is at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8. All dogs must be on a 4- to 6-foot leash and wearing flat collars.

For more information, call (928) 476-2239 or (928) 468-8245.

Special contest, awards

Largest Pumpkin Contest

Have a giant Jack O'Lantern fresh from the vine? Then the 53rd Annual Northern Gila County Fair has a contest just for you.

Enter your pumpkin in the Largest Pumpkin Contest -- entries will be measured by circumference at the widest part. The winner will get a gift certificate from Plant Fair Nursery.

Livestock Auction

The 2007 Livestock Auction at the Northern Gila County Fair has 25 young people from 4H and FFA participating. They will be auctioning their steers, hogs, goats and sheep at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 under the tent.

Buyers will then enjoy a dinner prepared by Albert Hunt.

Recognition Awards

Three special awards will be presented this year: the Zane Grey Award, the Fred Chilson Pioneer Ranching Award and the Mary Ellen Randall Award.

The Zane Grey Award is presented to the entry in the fair that best depicts life in the Rim Country of the Old West. Judging is by members of the Northern Gila County Historical Society and the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation. Points are based on Old West authenticity, skills required, originality and quality.

The Fred Chilson Pioneer Ranching Award is presented to a youth exhibitor or adult leader in the livestock division of the fair. Judging is by the Northern Gila County Fair Steering Committee, Livestock Superintendent and leaders from 4H and FFA. This award will be based on leadership, responsibility, citizenship and professionalism.

The Mary Ellen Randall Award is presented to a youth exhibitor or adult leader in the equestrian division. Judging is by the fair steering committee, Horse Superintendent and 4H leaders. The award is based on leadership, responsibility, citizenship and professionalism.

All of these special awards are based on merit and may or may not be awarded annually.

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