Summer is on the run toward fall and it’s time to start thinking about the 55th Annual Northern Gila County Fair. The call is out to get entries ready.
Entries to the Tonto Apache Exhibit Hall will be accepted between noon and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9. Livestock, rabbit and bird exhibit entries can be submitted between noon at 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Payson Event Center. There is no charge for entries into any of the fair competitions.
Fair books with the premium lists and rules for submitting an entry into the fair and tags, which must be on each entry, are at the Payson Parks and Recreation Department in Green Valley Park, the Payson Public Library in Rumsey Park and the Pine Public Library.
There will be things to see the early days of the fair. There will be barrel race and pole bending contests at the Payson Event Center starting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9 and the 4H Speed Events at the PEC at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10.
Special events during the remainder of the fair include the 4H Horse Show at 8 a.m. at the PEC and the livestock judging and show under the big tent at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11. The open horse show is at 8 a.m. at PEC and the livestock auction under the big tent at 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12. Books open at 7 a.m. and registration closes at 7:45 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 12 for the open horse show. Registration is required to participate in the auction. Participants may register at 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12 and they will have the opportunity to enjoy the “Buyers Dinner” prepared by Ronnie McDaniel and Terry Phillips.
The popular Demolition Derby is at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 13, with gates opening at 11:30 a.m. Honeycutt Rodeo, Chapman Auto Center and Payson Parks & Recreation sponsor this event.
The fair is open to the public beginning at 9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 11 through Sunday, Sept. 13. The exhibits may be viewed at the Tonto Apache Exhibit Hall from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The exhibitions at the PEC are released at 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12. Those in the exhibit hall must be retrieved between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 13.
Cash prizes are awarded for first, second and third place wins — $3, $2 and $1 respectively.
There are several special fair awards made when warranted. The Zane Grey Award is presented to the entry that best depicts life in the Rim Country of the Old West. Members of the Northern Gila County Historical Society and the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation will do judging. Points will be based on Old West authenticity, skills required, originality and quality. The Fred Chilson Pioneer Ranching Award is presented to the youth exhibitor or adult leader in the livestock division. The Northern Gila County Fair Steering Committee, livestock superintendent and leaders will do judging from 4H and FFA. The award is 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. These awards may or may not be awarded and are based on merit. The Lacey Balmer Oldland High Point Youth All-Around Award for the open horse show.
A special contest is planned for participants in the agriculture and horticulture, as well as the floriculture divisions this year. Design a scarecrow on a 6-foot pointed stake that is from 4- to 5-feet high, with an arm spread between 2- and 4-feet. The winner will received a gift certificate to Plant Fair Nursery. There will also be several workshops and other special events, with details to be published at a later date.