Celebrate All Day July 4th

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The Payson Arizona Foot Races are part of the friendly competitions and family games featured at the Town of Payson’s July 4th celebration in Green Valley Park.

Payson’s national birthday bash kicks off at 8 a.m., Wednesday, July 4 with a patriotic ceremony to salute to those men and women who have made this a free country. The program includes members of the community reading the Declaration of Independence aloud.

Right after the 8 a.m. flag raising at the Veterans Memorial in Green Valley Park and a few remarks, guests will be asked to take a short walk to the grassy area near the Rim Country Museum where chairs will be set up.

Payson is one of the few towns in Arizona with a tradition of a public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The public reading is followed by public participation with spontaneous remarks.

Everyone is invited to be part of the re-commitment to freedom and liberty.

Then from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Payson will conduct its annual family games and friendly competition. Families will enjoy everything from sack races to egg toss to tug of war. Finally the town will conduct the 4th Annual Payson Arizona Foot Races.

Starting at 7 p.m. and going to 9 p.m., the amphitheater bandstand will come alive with live music by the Technicolors Band, with music geared for all ages.

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Contestants will square off for an old-fashioned tug-of-war and sack races during the Independence Day celebration.

The “BOOM” starts at about 9 p.m. with one of the most spectacular fireworks shows in Arizona. Surrounded by the cool confines of Green Valley Park and its three lakes, this venue offers a picturesque setting for the show. Sponsors of the 2012 fireworks show are Digitell Verizon Wireless, Northern Gila County Sanitary District, the Town of Payson’s Water Department and Payson Regional Medical Center.

Due to the popularity of this event, parking in the area is limited, so additional space is being made available at the Payson High School administration parking lot (off of McLane). Free shuttles will run from Payson High School to Green Valley Park starting at 5:30 p.m. After the show, the busses will return people to their cars. (Directions: from the junction of Highways 87 and 260, go west on Longhorn Road and turn left on McLane; follow signs to the Payson High School administration parking lot.)

For more information about this event, please contact Cameron Davis, Town of Payson – Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director at (928) 474-5242 extension 7 or email: cdavis@paysonaz.gov. or visit www.paysonrimcountry.com.

There will be another Payson celebration of 2012’s Independence Day hosted by the Payson Elks Lodge Wednesday, July 4. Live music from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. kicks things off with the Payson Elks Jam Band performing. There will be food served from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., including hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, potato salad and apple crisp with ice cream.

All Elks and guests are welcome, and if you’d like to jam with the band, you are encouraged to do so. The Lodge is located at 1206 N. Beeline Highway.

Holiday fun continues

More fun and festivities take place July 6 and July 7 and continue later in July.

Friday, July 6 will be an Independence Day-themed First Friday celebration on Historic Main Street in Payson.

On the first Friday of each month, Payson has First Friday on Main Street where the various merchants and the Community Presbyterian Church open their doors to offer food and entertainment at 5 p.m.

For the July 6 First Friday, the Community Presbyterian Church will be offering a hot dish, along with coffee and lemonade. The evening’s entertainment features guitar vocalist Joanie Smith Reynolds, guitar vocalist Annie James, vocalist Jennifer Baltz, saxophonist Bob Tarallo, and others, all for a $5 donation, which will be used to cover meal expenses.

Help is needed to prepare the meal. Usually the staff at the church childcare center prepares the meal, but in July the center is closed for the summer. It is expected that 15 to 20 meals, possibly more, will be served.

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The sights and sounds at the town’s July 4th celebration in Green Valley Park are sure to make you smile.

Please return an e-mail to gerry-reynolds@ hotmail.com, or call Joanie at (602) 619-3355 if you would like to help.

For First Friday at Bootleg Alley Antiques and Art, tourists and locals are invited to enjoy the sounds of Payson’s favorite band, Junction 87. Payson Youth Football will sell hot dogs and a soda. This charity will also sell raffle tickets for a chance to win a signed football. Payson’s American Legion Riders Post 69 will have T-shirts available for purchase. Proceeds benefit Payson Supply Line. Be sure to visit the Humane Society table. Raffle tickets will be sold and donations accepted. Come to this monthly gathering for an evening of fun, music, ambiance and even some dancing.

Bootleg Alley is located at 520 W. Main St.

A group of Rim Country writers are uniting for a special First Friday event at Todd’s Books, 408 W. Main St., Payson. Authors Lana Sweringen, Dee Dees, Nancy Lee Burns and Dennis Lee will have a book signing at the shop for First Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, July 6.

Centennial celebrations

The residents of Pine and Strawberry will celebrate the Arizona Centennial Saturday, July 7 with a parade at 10:30 a.m., and a variety of other events at Pine/Strawberry Community Center including barbecue, educational programs and a dance.

This is the official Pine/Strawberry celebration of the Arizona Centennial.

The Pine/Strawberry Museum opens at 10 a.m. and the Pine/Strawberry Historical Society will host a barbecue under the ramada from noon to 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the museum and library and cost $8 per person, with those 12 and under served for $5 each.

There will be activities for children; a speaker on Pine/Strawberry history in the Cultural Hall at 1 p.m.; a special program on flags in the Cultural Hall at 2 p.m. The library will host a Community Dance with Junction 87 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. inside the Cultural Hall.

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The evening’s festivities will conclude with a bang when the spectacular fireworks show begins around 9 p.m.

Refreshments will be served.

Donations to the library will gladly be accepted.

The program is presented in partnership with the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library, Pine/Strawberry Archeological & Historical Society and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pine Ward. A portion of this project was supported with funds granted by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records Agency under the Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. No alcohol or smoking is allowed on community center grounds.

Another Centennial event will be held in Young July 21. Residents of Young and its surrounding area will have their own celebration of the Arizona Centennial July 21 for Pleasant Valley Days.

Currently the Pleasant Valley Historical Society is looking for descendants of pioneer families who homesteaded or settled in Young or the surrounding area of Pleasant Valley in the late 1800s or early 1900s. They are invited to participate in the 2012 Pleasant Valley Days celebration as a group grand marshal for the parade to honor area pioneers on July 21.

Organizers will have vehicles to ride in or those participating can have an entry or float for their family members.

Parade entries must be in by July 14, 2012.

Contact Carol Braswell at (928) 462-3661 for questions or additional information.

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