Firewise East Verde Park is reaching out to the Rim Country, as well as those who visit the area, to raise funds and provide a place for families to have fun, win lots of prizes and create new memories on July 5.
The first ever All-American Independence Day Festival at East Verde Park will include a horseshoe tournament, an adopt-a-duck race at the river's edge, a go-cart rally with timed runs around an obstacle course, and a catch and release fishing derby for kids 13 and under -- no license required.
Half of all revenues from these activities will go toward prizes for the winners. As an example, the winner of the duck race could win as much as $400.
There will be a carnival for the kids with numerous games, activities and prizes; many where adults can join with the children and have a hilarious time.
Games include water balloon toss, face painting, ring toss, sack races, bean bag toss, and lucky duckies (floating duck pond), along with several commercial size games. Kids' prizes will be numerous and fun.
Throughout the day there will be hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches with all the trimmings, chips, cookies and candies and drinks such as cold drinks, water, root beer floats, lemonade, beer and margaritas for sale. Don't miss the opportunity to cool off with a snow cone while you're having fun. And if you're not eating pie or watermelon, join the pie eating contest or watermelon spitting contest for fun prizes.
On-going raffles for drawings that day include the sale of tickets to win a $200 gas card (sponsored by two residents, Dan Haapala and Mary Cambier) or two tickets on the Grand Canyon Railway.
At the festival there will also be tickets sold for a 50/50 drawing, as well as numerous items to bid on in a silent auction.
Some items in the silent auction are a Zune MP3/video player, drip system kit and a Nikon Cool-Pix digital camera.
East Verde Park is located three miles north of Payson at Highway 87 and East Verde Estates turnoff. Just follow the signs.