The summer swelter set in Saturday afternoon at the Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Fair as dogs panted and stretched their leashes to take advantage of any shade they could find.
Yet their owners continued to purchase jewelry, pottery, hand-sewn children’s clothes, and woodcarvings as they strolled up and down the pathways to admire vendors’ wares.
The Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild sponsors three craft shows each year on the holiday weekends around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.
The Pine Community Center grounds can support up to 80 vendors with interior and exterior booths available.
All vendors who wish to participate must submit applications with photos for the Guild to judge whether or not the work meets the organization’s standards. All work must be handcrafted.
One vendor made wall hangings of pueblo dwellings. Another made soaps. And everywhere, jewelers used Arizona stones, sterling silver, crystals and glass beads.
Community groups, such as the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue sold raffle tickets and had information booths.
Marlenn Bonney and Joanne Halm from the Strawberry Patchers stoically sat out in the heat, collecting money for raffle tickets.
“We’re doing OK,” said Halm. “There are a few less vendors and it’s a tad slow, but the fourth falls on a Wednesday and people must be splitting their weekends.”
Each year, the Strawberry Patchers sew a quilt as a group for the raffle.
The theme of this year’s quilt was Paper Pieced Stained Glass Blocks. The Patchers chose a pallet of primary colors for the designs on each square showcased against a dramatic black background.
This year the Patchers will hold the drawing on Aug. 11. Proceeds from the sale go toward numerous local charities such as the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library in Pine, the Humane Society of Central Arizona and the Payson Public Schools Reading Program.
The heat garnered more conversation from the ladies than anything else.
“It’s certainly hot during the day,” said Bonney. “But it cools off in the evenings.”
Not all vendors had booths in the sunshine, however.
Inside the Pine Community Center, the Senior Kitchen organization offered Navajo tacos, but more importantly, cool drinks.
With the lunch rush over, people came in to pick up a drink and cool off. Friends sat in small bunches quietly chatting and sipping.
Next door, local crafters joined together to sell tie-dyed shirts, hand-crocheted baby blankets, and carved wooden bowls.
Across the way in the air-conditioned Pine Auditorium, over a dozen vendors kept cool and listened to acoustic music.
As the afternoon drew to a close, shoppers wandered off clutching their bags full of goodies and stopped by to grab an ice cream from one of the few ice cream shops in town eating them quickly to avoid losing their treat to the heat.