Welcome Fall With Festivals And Fun

Big weekend of events starts with Homecoming, followed by Heritage

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

At the 2008 Heritage Festival the Native American dancers were a big hit with the crowds. The young people are coming back this year with a bigger group and will be performing at different times throughout the day.

Rest up. There is another high-energy, action-packed weekend waiting right around the corner.

First up, Friday, Sept. 25, Homecoming Week festivities at Payson High School culminate with the Longhorns playing Santa Cruz at 7 p.m. and homecoming royalty crowned at halftime.

Things really start hopping Saturday, Sept. 26 with the opening of both the annual Payson Heritage Festival and the 39th annual Vertielee Floyd Memorial Old-time Fiddlers Contest.

“By teaming up these two events we hope to create a larger event that more people will want to enjoy,” said Cameron Davis, the director of Payson’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.

The Heritage Festival will be held at Green Valley Park, opening at 9 a.m., and the Fiddle Festival will be basically across the road at Amity’s Acres, behind Main Street, with gates opening at 8:30 a.m. and opening ceremonies at 9:30 a.m.

To get to Amity’s Acres take South McLane off of Main Street and follow the signs. Visitors to each event can use one of the three “Tractor Trams (hayride style)” that will be going back and forth from each event all day long.

The festival is a celebration of Payson’s Western, Native American and pioneer heritage and features along with music, art displays and cultural activities and it’s free. Take a step back in time to experience what it was like in Payson during the late 1800s. Visit the Western Cowboy Ranch site, Native American Camp and Pioneer Settlement. There will be ongoing demonstrations, special programs and hands-on activities to enjoy.

At the Fiddle Festival guests will enjoy the talents showcased in the many different divisions: Small Fry for ages 3-9, Junior-Junior for ages 10-12, Junior for ages 13-17, Young Adult for ages 18-39, Adult for ages 40-64, Senior for ages 65-plus.

There will also be divisions for Trick Fiddling, Fancy Fiddling, Twin Fiddling, and Cross-Tuned Fiddling. The championship features the top 18 from each age division and will be presented Sunday, Sept. 27.

Admission to the Fiddle Festival is $8 for adults, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge.

There will be no food, coolers or pets allowed in the contest area. Organizers will be allowing one sealed bottle of water per person and vendors will have other refreshments and more for sale.

Saturday evening two special events extend the fun of both the Payson Heritage and Fiddle Festivals.

The annual fund-raising banquet for the Northern Gila County Historical Society concludes Saturday’s heritage festivities. The highlight of the banquet will be the premiere of a stunning new video featuring recordings made for KMOG by the late Marguerite Noble, paired with historic pictures from the Northern Gila County Historical Society archives.

The benefit banquet is at the Mazatzal Casino. Historical Society members and Payson history buffs are invited to attend.  Dinner is included in the price of admission, which is $35 per person. Tickets are available at the Rim Country Museum in Green Valley Park, which is open every day except Tuesday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Payson Public Library will also have the tickets available.

Enjoy the talents of fiddlers in the evening air from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26 at a concert-style jam session at Amity’s Acres (take Main Street to South McLane and follow signs). This will be the first “Heritage Circle,” Community Tailgate Party. The fiddlers and other musicians will provide music. Cost of the event is $5 per carload.

Learn more about these events by contacting the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce at (928) 474-4515 or the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department at paysonrimcountry.com.

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