Heritage Festival Offers A Chance To Visit History

 Special events were held for youngsters. Expect similar attractions at the 2010 version of the event. This year there will be “base ball” players in vintage costumes using replica equipment and rules from the 1860s, plus events for children.

Special events were held for youngsters. Expect similar attractions at the 2010 version of the event. This year there will be “base ball” players in vintage costumes using replica equipment and rules from the 1860s, plus events for children. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Costumed characters representing both the real and imagined entertained guests at the 2009 Western Heritage Festival.

Vintage “Base Ball” and a descendant of Zane Grey will highlight the 2010 Western Heritage Festival. The festival is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2 at Green Valley Park and presented by the Northern Gila County Historical Society.

The ball game is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the park and will feature the Stars & Stripes team of the Arizona Territories Vintage Base Ball League and the Payson Cougars Senior Softball team. The game is being called the Zane Grey Classic — remember, the famous author was a ball player at one time.

According to the NGCHS, vintage base ball attempts to re-create the game as it was originally played. With original rules (from the 1860s) and vintage-style uniforms and equipment, it is part sport and part historical re-enactment.

Grey Murphy, great-grandson of Zane Grey, will throw out the first pitch of the game. He has also signed two bats that will be offered in a silent auction at the festival.

The game will also include educational opportunities and special activities such as a tug-of-war, “dizzy lizzy” and long throw contest.

There will be a raffle of vintage bats and balls handmade by the ATVBBL team, vintage caps and T-shirts.

Music and more

Musical entertainment for the day will be provided by Bryan Higgens at 10 a.m.; Ron Gibson and his band at 11 a.m.; and Bill Camp at noon.

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In the past, weaving and quilting were for practical purposes, today they are hobbies, but no less lovely.

Higgens usually performs with his band Whiskey Creek and is the owner of the music store, Strings. He will be solo for the Western Heritage Festival.

He started playing guitar and singing at 14 while living in California. Higgens admits to sometimes sneaking into nightclubs where his mother was playing and doing one or two songs.

Higgens says his early influences were Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, John Anderson and Randy Travis.

He has been in the Rim Country for about five years.

Gibson is a home-grown musician and descended from one of the pioneer Randall families. He will be performing with his brother, Don, and Kenny Brashears. The Ron Gibson Band specializes in classic country music.

Bill Camp is a recent transplant in Payson from Tucson.

He was born in Colorado to a cattle ranching family that moved to Tucson and started the Triple C Chuckwagon. Camp and his family entertained at the Triple C for a number of years and had the opportunity to work with the famous Sons of the Pioneers in the 1980s and 1990s.

Other attractions planned for the Western Heritage Festival are Apache arts and crafts demonstrations, quilting demonstrations, a square dance program, a display of antique guns, and a presentation by Payson historians Jinx and Jayne (Peace) Pyle, who will have copies of their books for sale and rope tricks by Jinx. There will also be a costumed storyteller with a program for children.

Food will be available from several vendors: RMG (Rick Gable) with barbecue beef and hamburgers, cheeseburgers, nachos, popcorn, pretzels and drinks; M&B (Mark and Bobbi) with hot dogs, brats and drinks; Scoops with ice cream and, if the temperatures are chilly, coffee and hot chocolate; Tim Rochford with fajitas and churros; and Kathy Hinton with fry bread.

Plan to spend a great day in Green Valley Park at the 2010 Western Heritage Festival, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2.

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