Pine’S Inaugural Trail Day A Top-Notch Event

Caleb Zilmer of Gilbert gets some hands-on fun during the medieval fighting demonstrations at Pine’s Trail Day event last Saturday.

Photo by Joy Hafford. |

Caleb Zilmer of Gilbert gets some hands-on fun during the medieval fighting demonstrations at Pine’s Trail Day event last Saturday.


Pine and Strawberry residents share their peaceful community with visitors throughout the year by hosting some pretty fun and amazing festivals. Pine’s inaugural Trail Day event Saturday, April 21 was no exception. This was truly a family affair, with activities for everyone. With free parking, free admission and free entertainment, it proved to be a great event for anyone on a budget.

The day began with a llama hike at the Pine Trailhead led by Joyce Bittner of Fossil Creek Goat and Llama Ranch, followed by a Bradshaw Mountain hike. Meanwhile, back at the Community Center, there was trouble — Trouble in Paradise, that is — as the talented and versatile Chuck Casey, on guitar, and his wife, Barbara, on violin, performed with their popular band at the ramada. There was more music throughout the day as folks walked around greeting one another, entering raffles for great prizes and gathering information about the Arizona Trail and local groups and sights.

Knights, armor and sword fighting is not something you see every day around here and it was a lot of fun for kids like Caleb Zilmer from Gilbert. Caleb, a mature young man who told me his age is “almost 8 in two weeks” was at the event with his dad and his sister, Madeline. Caleb and other visiting and local children got a chance to see a medieval fighting demonstration and to grab a sword and take some swings at the knights.

Spectators enjoyed demonstrations presented by the Gila County Sheriff’s Office from Globe. Officers, including Travis Baxley, Canine Unit Supervisor, led the dogs — a Dutch shepherd, Belgian Malinois, and black Labrador retriever — in search and retrieval demonstrations. The presentation was interactive and informative. I learned that the dogs have an inborn ability to hunt, are highly motivated to work, and are reward driven. The dogs can’t visually tell marijuana from mayonnaise, but are acutely scent driven — and know which scent means “treat.”

The event was fun for everyone thanks to all the hard work and community spirit of the local businesses and groups, in conjunction with the Arizona Trail Association. They did an excellent job in organizing a top-notch event that is sure to grow by leaps and bounds in years to come.

P-S School presents ‘Disney’s Cinderella Kids’

Do you wish there was something to do Friday night in our little town? Why sit home and watch television when you can go to a live play? Bring your family, your spouse — or your date — to Pine Strawberry School tonight, Friday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. or Saturday, April 28 at 2:30 p.m., for the Pine Strawberry School students’ presentation of the play “Disney’s Cinderella Kids.” See talented local students in their adaptation of this classic Disney story. The community is encouraged to attend and support our students and enjoy an entertaining performance. If you’ve never seen our local students perform, it is always something special and a true delight to see them on stage. It may not be Hollywood or Broadway, but you just might be star struck before the show is over.

National Day of Prayer

There will be several locations in Pine for those who wish to observe the National Day of Prayer. The Payson Christian Ministerial Fellowship invites residents to meet at 7 a.m. on May 3 at the flagpole at the Pine Elementary School for the fifth consecutive annual observance led by Robert and Kim Ballam, or at 11 a.m. there will be an observance at the Pine Community Center ramada led by Pastor John Lake of the Church on Randall Place.

The First Baptist Church will host a Prayer Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at the church at 4039 N. Highway 87. Please call for reservations at (928) 476-3552, but if not, the church says please come anyway as there will be lots of food.

This is an opportunity for people to come together locally, as people of all faiths gather from coast to coast in observance of the National Day of Prayer.

Book discussion at Pine Library

On May 4, the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library is hosting a book discussion on Lisa Schnebly Heidinger’s book “Arizona: 100 Years Grand.” This is a beautiful book with a great collection of stories about some of Arizona’s best-known and beloved people and places. The discussion, led by Diana Dwyer, is from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the library. Refreshments will be served. You can reserve a copy from the library at 6124 N. Randall Place in Pine or by calling (928) 476-3678. You can also visit the Web site at

Old-fashioned fun at May Day Celebration

Come celebrate spring with craft vendors, food, vintage cars and tractor show, raffles, entertainment and children’s activities, like decorate your own cupcake, and much more. The third annual May Day Celebration, sponsored by Pine Strawberry Business Community, is Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event at the historic Pine Community Center in downtown Pine is a kid- and family-friendly old-fashioned community event. For visitors, we are located 15 miles north of Payson on Highway 87 and you can’t miss it, unless you blink, as there are no stoplights in Pine! It’s an event not to miss if you want to have a lot of fun and get a glimpse into small-town charm and rural America. Come out to greet your neighbors and make new friends at the Pine Strawberry May Day Festival.

We’re just getting started with festival season, so stay tuned to the Payson Roundup every Friday for all the happenings in Pine and Strawberry. Please send your events to haffordjoy1@ or call (602) 790-0248.


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