Holiday Weekend Crowds Seemed Larger Than Ever

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The Tonto Rim Search & Rescue group sold raffle tickets for a chance to win a very nice quad, and passed out information to visitors at the Labor Day Arts and Crafts Fair in Pine.

I don’t know if there’s anyone in Pine who keeps track of such things, but it seemed to me that there were more people streaming into town on Saturday then I’ve ever seen. Traffic was backed up for miles, but still moving steadily, and most folks seemed to be heading to the arts and crafts festival. Once again, the organizers were able to offer excellent, high-quality items in an amazing variety, which seems to draw more and more people each year.

The crowds stretched well beyond the community center and several shops overflowed with shoppers, too. Although Sunday wasn’t quite as busy, Pine still saw a healthy influx of visitors downtown.

If you prefer shopping in a somewhat more laid-back atmosphere, then come visit your favorite Pine stores tomorrow as several antique and specialty shops host their popular Second Saturday Shop Hop. The fun begins at 4 p.m. as participating locations open their doors and offer special pricing, music, refreshments and much more.

Also taking place this weekend is the Northern Gila County Fair at the Payson Event Center (rodeo grounds). Many folks from Pine and Strawberry enter items in the food, photography, art, sewing, animal and other divisions, so be sure to stop by and show your support.

The Pine-Strawberry Senior Thrift Shop will begin its annual summer clearance sale on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Fill an entire bag with clothing items for just $2, shoes are 50 cents a pair, and purses are only $1. The sale will last through Saturday, Sept. 18.

Also, don’t forget the CPR/AED classes at the Senior Dining Hall on Saturday, Sept. 18 beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting until noon. The class is designed for folks who are interested in understanding how to perform CPR and use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in a relaxing atmosphere without having to take the test that is necessary to obtain certification. The folks at SCAF have teamed with Dave Burkhart, who is the founder of CPR Arizona, to offer the class in order to give folks peace of mind and knowledge about what to do in case of a medical emergency. If you have any questions or would like to pre-register, you may call Dave at (928) 476-4257.

The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library will feature the next Movie Madness Event on Friday, Sept. 24 in conjunction with the early dismissal of the Pine-Strawberry Elementary students. The kids get out of school at 1:30 p.m., the movie — PG-rated “James and the Giant Peach” — begins at 2 p.m.

The Rimside Grill will be hosting its seventh annual Octoberfest Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 25. In addition to delicious German food and beer, there will be volleyball, horseshoes, and many more fun, interactive games throughout the day. There will also be an auction to benefit Pine-Strawberry Elementary School’s general fund. Later, you can enjoy the band Gunpowder and Lead — described as an “explosive” band that plays modern country music with a touch of rock and blues thrown in for good measure.

Also taking place in Pine on Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26 is the third annual Fall Apple Festival. Saturday’s highlight will be the Chili Cook-off, which begins at 11 a.m. For just $3, you can sample a variety of tasty chili (last year there were over 30 types featured and they were all delicious). If you think you have the recipe that has what it takes to win top honors, you can sign up to participate at the Pine-Strawberry Thrift Store. There will also be music, games, vendors, food and lots of wonderful baked apple treats for sale. Proceeds from the baked goods will be donated to the local Humane Society. On Sunday, come enjoy more of the same, minus the Chili Contest. There is no admission fee for the Fall Apple Festival.

Congratulations are in order for two young ladies in our communities. Abby Ballam of Strawberry recently won the junior division of the local Bible Bee, and placed 214th out of 1,051 contestants nationwide. Abby learned more than 500 verses to accomplish this amazing feat! Tesia Smith competed in the senior division, ranking 59th out of a field of 484 contestants nationwide, which earned her a slot in the upcoming national competition in Chicago. Tesia spent the last two-and-a-half months learning 800 Bible verses. Both girls had to participate in an oral competition round, reciting up to 30 verses in 10 minutes with points deducted for errors, followed by a 200-question written test based on a Bible study that they have each worked on since June. Both girls worked hard and have much to be proud of.

I have to admit, my friend (and neighbor), Jack, recently got a good chuckle at my expense when he asked me about the trout down at Fossil Creek. Why? Well apparently there aren’t any trout in Fossil Creek!

Those fish that, to my discriminating eye, look just like trout, are actually chub. Apparently chubs are native to Arizona, which is why they were re-introduced to Fossil Creek after the dam was removed, but according to Jack (and he really IS a discriminating fisherman), they taste horrible. It’s a good thing we’re usually more interested in swimming than fishing when we go down to Fossil!

And that, my friends, is it for another beautiful week in Pine and Strawberry.

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