Everywhere I look, the leaves are changing. It’s that beautiful, but brief time when many of our trees seem to rally one last brilliant splash of color before winter sets in! Don’t you wish you could just capture this season and hang on to it a little longer? The spectacular autumn display is just one of many reasons you’ll want to head to Pine and Strawberry this weekend.
It’s a perfect time to get out for a hike, so if you haven’t signed up for the Blue’s Dog Walk, it’s not too late. You can register on the day of the event, Saturday, Oct. 18, by showing up at the Pine Trailhead at 8 a.m. The cost is $35 for adults (pre-registrants pay $25) or $15 for children. The hike itself is appropriate for all age and experience levels, and participants will receive a T-shirt, Frisbee, doggie bag, plus other items. The event begins at 9 a.m. and all proceeds will benefit the Payson Humane Society. Even if you are unable to go on the hike, you can support the cause by going to Blue’s Gallery afterward (around 11 a.m. or so) where they will have pets for adoption and T-shirts for sale. You can even get your pet micro-chipped right at the shop!
The Ranch at Fossil Creek is hosting many exciting activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 and again Oct. 25. There will be tractor-pull hayrides, a petting zoo, spooky llama walks, game booths, music and plenty of tasty food. Admission is free, with all proceeds from the games and food sales going to benefit the Pine-Strawberry School band and student council, Strawberry Elite and Payson Community Kids. The Ranch is located at 10379 W. Fossil Creek Road in Strawberry (about 3 1/2 miles from the Strawberry Lodge). So grab your family and friends and head up to Strawberry for the day. If you have questions, you can contact Joyce at (928) 476-5178 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Shop Hop a big success
If the above events are half as fun as the Second Saturday Shop Hop, then you won’t want to miss out. Pine overflowed with visitors — shopping, painting, playing games, listening to music and just enjoying the sunny, blustery day. Some of the highlights for our family were meeting Beverly Bear, author of “Strawberry Finds A Home,” and hearing the amazing details of how the book came to be. Several children helped her read the story aloud, while enjoying the refreshments and hospitality at Myra’s Gallery. My daughters especially loved learning to knit at Pine Country Antiques. It appears they have picked up a new hobby for the winter months! The shopkeepers I spoke with said they experienced a nice influx of families enjoying the final Shop Hop of the season.
New ramada taking shape
While most of us were out having fun last Saturday, Melvin Palmer, President of C.E.R.C.A. (Community, Educational, Recreational, and Civic Association), was busy trimming the tops off of the large metal posts that will support the new ramada at the Pine-Strawberry Cultural Center.
Several grants and/or donations from the county and federal government, C.E.R.C.A., Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee, Northern Arizona Wood Products Association (NAWPA) and others have been instrumental in providing much of the funding. Still the project could not be proceeding with such speed if not for the generous services provided by so many in our community. Payson Concrete dug numerous holes for the footings, and generously supplied all the concrete to support the new ramada which, at 32’ x 64’, will be 40 percent larger than the original structure. Matt McRae of Makpar Contracting poured all the footings which seems quite fitting considering his grandfather, Lufkin Hunt, had a hand in building the first ramada! Several volunteers showed up this week to help raise the trusses.
Melvin said that they even have an electrical contractor who is willing to provide all the labor to wire the structure free of charge — the catch is funding is still a bit short to purchase the materials. Wouldn’t it be nice to have lighting available on our brand new ramada? If you would like to be part of the efforts to see that happen, you can make a donation to C.E.R.C.A. at P.O. Box 163 Pine, AZ 85544.
The open house for the new computer lab at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library was a huge success. The senior computer classes, set to begin in November, filled up so quickly that manager Becky Waer ended up adding an afternoon session which quickly filled up too!
If you have preschoolers between the ages of 2 and 5, don’t forget story time at the library every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. This is a perfect time to help children develop a life-long love of reading.
The library is currently forming an exploratory committee regarding future expansion. Interested individuals may call the library at (928) 476-3678 or email manager Becky Waer at email@example.com.
SCAF (Senior Citizen Affairs Foundation) in Pine/Strawberry is holding its quarterly business meeting for members at 12:20 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20. Please join them at the Senior Center Dining Room for lunch at 11:30 before the meeting. The menu consists of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggie, salad bar and beverage for a cost of $4. Please call 476-2151 for a reservation.
Fall Festival coming up
It’s less than two weeks until the annual Fall Festival at the Pine Strawberry School gymnasium. This year’s event will be held Thursday, Oct. 30 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. so you can still go out on Halloween night. Organizers tell me it’s not necessary to eat before coming, because they’ll have plenty of good food available at reasonable prices. Other highlights include face painting, petting zoo, cake walks and too many games to list! A costume contest will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the games and activities are only 50 cents each — you can pick them up in advance at the office or at the entrance to the gymnasium on the night of the festival. So mark your calendars now!