Rim Country 4th Promises Music, Food, Fireworks



Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

There’s more to 4th of July fun than fireworks and food. There will a variety of events for all ages, including face painting and games, plus lots of music.

An old-fashioned, small-town celebration is in the works for the Fourth of July.

Fun and festivities start on Friday, July 3 with the First Friday Main Street Block Party and more.

Shop and snack, listen to music and check out the art in the galleries on old Main Street from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, July 3. There will food from several different vendors along the street, plus a $5 benefit spaghetti, salad and dessert dinner from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main with music by Colleen Brown and the Starlighters. The Johnny Anonymous Band will provide music throughout the evening at Main Street Mercantile.

Pro Rodeo Dance

The Payson Pro Rodeo Committee is sponsoring dances at the Historic Oxbow Saloon Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4 featuring the music of Junction 87. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 9 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge and proceeds from the dance will benefit the committee’s scholarship program and breast cancer support groups.

For more information, call John Landino, (928) 468-6684.

Farmers Market

Fourth of July fun continues on West Main Street Saturday morning. The new Farmers Market will be open at the Payson Community Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Main, from 8 a.m. to noon. This is the market’s debut. There will be fresh produce from both local and statewide growers, goat cheese, fudge, honey, jams/jellies, naturally sweetened fruit butters, eggs and baked goods. An ice cream vendor is also scheduled to participate.


An old-fashioned family 4th of July Parade is planned for 9 a.m. on Main Street. Sponsored by the Main Street Merchants Guild and Main Street Program, everyone is invited to participate, free of charge. Dress up everybody in the family, including the pets and walk down Main Street to celebrate. Decorate bikes, wagons, motorcycles, ATVs, the old truck or family car and join the fun. For additional details call (928) 468-6074. To sign up as a participant, call Cindy at (928) 478-1065.

The Main Street Merchants Guild will provide parade participants with flags to wave.

Carnival games

After the parade, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be carnival games on Main Street.

The Payson Water Department, the Northern Gila County Sanitary District and the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department sponsor the celebration in Payson’s crown jewel, Green Valley Park.

Patriotic ceremony

Activities start with a patriotic ceremony at 8 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial in the park including a flag-raising, a brief tribute and then a program on the Declaration of Independence led by Lew Levenson at the park bandstand.

Between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., there will be games for children and foot races hosted by Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.

Music will fill the air from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with rock from the Johnny Anonymous Band. Later, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the entertainment continues with more rock, plus blues and R&B with the Gypsy Juke Rockers.


Fireworks over the lake will start at 9 p.m. Because of the limited parking, once again a free shuttle to Green Valley Park will be offered from Payson High School. Starting at 5:30 p.m., park at the Payson High School north side (football field) lot and a shuttle school bus will provide transportation to and from Green Valley Park. To get to the pickup site, take Highway 87 to Longhorn Road. Go west on Longhorn Road to the Payson High School north parking lot (north of the football field).

Green Valley Park and West Main Street are not the only sites for 4th of July fun. There will be special activities at Taylor Pool in North Rumsey Park and up in Pine at the Community Center.

Taylor Pool events

Taylor Pool will have lifeguard demonstrations, games, prizes and raffles. The pool is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is $3 per person.

A variety of activities are taking place elsewhere in the Rim Country.

Pine Strawberry Arts, Crafts Fair

There will be a Pine/Strawberry Arts and Crafts Fair at the Pine Community Center during the 4th of July weekend. There will be more than 80 booths with arts and crafts, plus food and more.

The fair is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 4 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 5.

An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast will be offered from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Navajo Tacos will be for sale at the Senior Center. The Pine-Strawberry Museum will be open, along with the playground for children. There will be a quilt raffle as well. The Pine Community Center is within walking distance of the area galleries, shopping and restaurants.

The Pine Community Center is right on North Highway 87, just about in the middle of town. Behind the cultural hall at the community center is the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library’s activity building, there, visitors will find a three-day book sale sponsored by the Pine Library Friends group. It will be July 3, 4 and 5.

For more information, call Debra Price, (928) 476-3897.

Firefighters celebrate 40 years

Also in Pine on July 4, the Pine-Strawberry Firefighters Association is celebrating 40 years of service to the communities of Pine and Strawberry and surrounding areas.

The 40th anniversary celebration will include food, family fun, and education at Station 41 in Pine. 

For $5, the firefighters will provide a plate with a brat or hot dog, chips, sweets, and a drink.  There will be a bouncy house for the kids and an education program from the firefighting clowns.

Meet the firefighters, see the equipment and help with the celebration from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 4 on Hardscrabble Road in Pine.

For more information, call (928) 476-4272.

Houston Mesa bake sale

The Houston Mesa Fire District Auxiliary is hosting its annual bake sale and fund-raiser. The event is from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 4 at the Houston Mesa Fire Station.

Donations of baked goods and items to sell are needed to make the event a success.

Call (928) 474-3362 for more information.

East Verde Firewise festival

Firewise East Verde Park is reaching out to the Rim Country with its Second Annual All-American Independence Day Festival at East Verde Park.

Activities will include a horseshoe tournament, an adopt-a-duck race at the river’s edge, a go-cart rally and 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, beanbag toss, and lucky duckies, along with a bounce house and lots of snow cones. Kids’ prizes will be numerous and fun.

Throughout the day there will be hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches with all the trimmings, chips, cookies, cold drinks and water for sale. There will also be an old-fashioned pie-eating contest for more laughs and prizes.

Ongoing raffles for drawings that day include the sale of tickets to win a $200 prepaid Visa card, two tickets on the Grand Canyon Railway donated by KMOG Radio and a two-day stay at The Ridge on Sedona Golf Course Resort in October donated by Brooks Drafting. At the festival there will also be tickets sold for a 50/50 drawing, as well as numerous door prizes donated by Rim Country businesses.

East Verde Park is located three miles north of Payson at Highway 87 and East Verde Estates turnoff. Just follow the signs from there. Everyone is welcome to show up for a fun and inexpensive experience along the East Verde River.

For more information contact Dan or Lesley Haapala, (928) 472-8660, danhaapala@hotmail.com; Julie Green, (928) 472-3284, cgreen406elk@yahoo.com; or Matalyn Gardner, (928) 474-3883, matgard1@yahoo .com.

Christopher Creek party

Up in Christopher Creek the community celebration will be anchored at the Creekside Restaurant.

Music starts at noon. There will be hayrides to benefit the area’s homeowners association; a 50/50 drawing to raise money for the fire department; a chicken drop contest with half the proceeds aiding the Christopher Creek Business Association; and special activities for children. The restaurant will be providing an assortment of low-cost refreshments.


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