Between Oct. 3 and Oct. 7, Payson will be celebrating its 125th anniversary.
While the event is a fund-raiser for the Northern Gila County Historical Society, perhaps more importantly, it is an opportunity for the community to experience some of Payson's history and learn more about the heritage of the Rim Country. This can only be done if you participate in some of the events that have been planned.
The week's events kick off on Wednesday, Oct. 3 with the Beer, Brats, Wine and Cheese reception at the Rim Country Museum at Green Valley Park. This year we will honor August Pieper, an early Payson settler who had the first brewery in Payson, and the Payson folks of German descent. August Pieper's granddaughter will attend this event.
Thursday, Payson's town council will be presiding (unofficially) over the box supper auction, the pie extravaganza and for the first time, in a long time, dancing returns to Main Street. There is fun, food, dancing and community here...all part of Payson's history. Junction 87 will be providing the music, and they, too, are part of our cultural heritage.
Friday, in keeping with our past ... did you know they have been golfing at Payson Golf Course for more than 50 years? A 125th Anniversary golf tournament will be held at the Payson Golf Course. There will be some interesting golfers on the course, to say nothing of wonderful music by Kate & Sue and some terrific prizes for the winners.
Friday evening, the mystery dinner will provide a possible explanation for the disappearance of Zane Grey's personal cook, Takahashi. Music, melodrama, dinner and fun...should be a great evening.
Saturday morning begins with a mayor's breakfast honoring Payson's former mayors and includes stories about Payson, told by town historian, Jinx Pyle. Shortly after breakfast, the Timeline Parade begins. Each entry depicts a time or event in Payson's history. After the parade, storytellers will begin providing Rim Country historical stories -- all will be different and all will tell another aspect of Payson's culture.
A time-honored tradition -- an old fashioned cake walk, will take place near the Jail Tree at 11 a.m. This is a later part of Payson's history, but history is what makes up a community's culture, and this is yet another piece of the composite that is Payson.
Heritage quilts will grace the Julia Randall Rock Building. These are but another way of peeking inside of Payson's past. Many local residents are sharing their family quilts, which often represent part of their own history.
This is a unique, "very Payson" quilt show. Quilting is part of Payson's past, and very much a part of its present and future.
Saturday afternoon, we have the opportunity to experience our heritage of music, when local musicians take the stage in a "jam session." Nothing planned, just talented Payson musicians doing what they do best. After the mini-mystery barbecue at the park, cooked Payson-style, a heritage cake will be served for dessert. The making of the heritage or quilt cake as some call it, has not been seen publicly here in Payson for years. This is part of Payson's heritage and one that is a special event.
Sunday is about Payson's western heritage -- come and enjoy a Dutch oven cooking demonstration and a series of western-related demonstrations at the Event Center.
These events in some way reflect many of the activities of Payson's heritage. At the end of the arena events, those who have purchased their dinner tickets can enjoy a Dutch oven dinner cooked by the Dutch Oven Arizona State Cook-off Champions.
This celebration is about Payson's heritage. As newer residents of Payson, it is a good thing to learn its past, as it impacts its current culture; for longtime residents, it is an opportunity to re-experience some of Payson traditions.