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Sawdust Festival returns to Rim Country

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The chips and sawdust are going to fly in the Rim Country once more with the return of the Loggers Sawdust Festival at the Payson Event Center May 23 and 24.

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Log tossing requires concentration and strength. L

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Rolling pin throwing requires concentration and strength.

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Log rolling requires concentration and strength.

The heritage of the logging industry was celebrated every summer for 18 years in Payson. Now, after a 16-year absence, the sawdust will fly again.

The Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and a corps of both knowledgeable and novice volunteers, along with numerous generous sponsors are reviving one of the most entertaining, family-oriented events that helped make Payson the Festival Capital of Arizona.

The 2009 Loggers Sawdust Festival is taking place at the Payson Event Center Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24. The action gets started at 10 a.m. on both days. There are events for men, contests for women, activities for children and competitions for couples and families.

More than $6,000 in cash and prizes be awarded, plus special recognition for the Logger and Lady Logger of the Year and the Arizona Logger and Arizona Lady Logger of the Year.

These titles are the “biggies” at the Sawdust Festival. The Logger/Lady Logger of the Year are those contestants who earn the most points in the two-day event.

Elaine Drorbaugh, one of the area’s longtime residents and volunteer with the Sawdust Festival for many years with her late husband, Walt, explains the Logger of the Year is the man who displays the most all-around logging skill technique. He is a logger’s logger.

Drorbaugh’s son, Dan, earned the title three times in the festival’s early years and her daughter was the event’s first Lady Logger of the Year (and its second).

While many of the events need some knowledge and skill with power saws, others just need willing enthusiasm.

Bill Neal, who was involved in the early Sawdust Festivals and a Logger of the Year himself, is helping coordinate the revived event and urges Rim residents and visitors to come out and try their hand at some of the fun activities planned. Among these are the log toss, the log roll, the ax throw, the rolling pin throw, greased pole climbing and cigar smoking firefighter contests. Registration will be taken at the arena.

There will be events just for children too.

This is family fun at its old-fashioned best. Come out and be a part of it and keep a bit of Rim Country history alive.

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