The communities of Pine and Strawberry have several reasons to celebrate this week.
The ramada dedication was a huge success — several hundred people attended and Pine was bristling with activity. It was a proud moment for the community and a fitting tribute to the many folks who have worked so hard to see the project finished.
Of course the ramada is only part of the story. The firebreaks that help create a buffer around our towns, the seeding project to help encourage natural grasses to help restore the health of our forests, the success of the brush pickup operation, and the continued hard work of so many individuals are all pieces of an important puzzle that is on-going.
It was wonderful to see so many friends and neighbors come out to be a part of this very special occasion.
I am quite sure that the first Antique Tractor Show exceeded all expectations as well. There were 50 tractors dating as far back as 1929, plus several primitive engines (some were running throughout the whole event), and of course a steady stream of enthusiasts milling around. The organizers did a fantastic job, and I heard several favorable comments from folks in the crowd who were surprised at the vast variety on display.
While milling around, I saw a small boy perched on the seat of a tractor with a huge grin on his face. The next aisle over sat an older man in the same exact pose with a similar look of delight. The scenario really seemed to say much more than any words I could possibly write.
Pine shops full of people
Everywhere I went in downtown Pine the shops were full, the restaurants appeared to be busy and everyone seemed to be having a great time.
The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library Gift Shop also enjoyed a very successful grand opening. While some people milled around the original library building searching for the perfect gift, others enjoyed storytelling by Alice Natale in the adjacent park.
The gift shop has several treasured books on display for viewing interspersed with some wonderful handmade gifts.
One of my favorites was a lovely tote bag that included a coloring book in the main compartment and miniature “pockets” on the outside for chunky crayons (also included). What a perfect gift for a creative child.
Arts and craft show this weekend
The gift shop will be open again this week-end during the Arts and Craft Show so be sure to stop by.
Don’t forget to purchase a raffle ticket to win a huge summer gift cooler filled with a wide variety of goodies. Tickets cost only $1 for one ticket or $5 for six tickets and the drawing will be held Sunday, May 24.
The gift shop is housed in the original Pine library building which has been relocated to this idyllic location next to the Randall House Restaurant.
Another great bit of news for our area is the opening of the Tonto Natural Bridge this weekend.
Several volunteers have been working all week to get the site in shape for visitors, which is a huge task since very little upkeep has taken place since the closure. The bridge will be opened from today throughout the Memorial Day holiday including Monday, May 25.
The park will then open every weekend through the month of June, so I encourage you to take advantage of this brief respite and take a trip to the bridge with your friends and families.
Everyone in the area is anxiously waiting to see whether there will be additional funding to keep the bridge open during the next fiscal year which begins in July.
Friends of the Library book sale
The Friends of the Library will be holding a book sale extravaganza this weekend in the library activity room (behind the ramada). The sale is Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Saturday, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Kids, if you haven’t signed up for the summer reading program yet, you’ll want to do so soon.
The reading program will have fun incentives every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until noon during the month of June. For more information, stop by the library or call 476-3678.
The last week of school will be a busy one for the Pine and Strawberry students, teachers and staff. Eighth-grade promotion takes place at the school gym at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 27.
The following day, May 28, the kindergarten promotion takes place at 1 p.m. There will be early release for the last day of school field day and barbecue at 1:30 p.m., Friday, May 29.
You may have noticed that the brush piles that had built up throughout our communities are quickly disappearing. That is in spite of the fact that the large trailer is down for repairs again.
With the exceptionally dry spring we’ve had, the Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction Committee decided it was too risky to leave the piles dotting the towns, so they hired two 10-wheelers and a backhoe from Payson Concrete to assist in the pickup.
In two days they were able to haul an additional 34 truckloads to the brush pit. Furthermore, the board has rented a 14-foot trailer to keep up with the removal until the large trailer is back up again.
The PSFR Committee appreciates the efforts of those who maintain their properties by clearing excess brush, and they will do everything they can to ensure that the brush is removed in a timely manner.
Since we’ve been having a bit of lightning the past few days, the more brush that is hauled away from our properties the better. Not only does removing the debris help reduce a potential fire hazard, but when the heavy rains do come, it keeps the drainage ditches and culverts from becoming clogged.
Clogging can cause devastating erosion and flooding, so if you haven’t cleared your property yet, now’s the time.
Hope you all have a great Memorial Day Weekend in the Rim Country.