Wildlife, fishing, sports, recreation, music, reading and more are all on the horizon in the Rim Country. It’s time to start counting down to summer fun. So, get out your calendars and sharpen those pencils, because there are sure to be some special activities coming up that you and your family will want to enjoy.
This weekend, before celebrating Mother’s Day, get down to Green Valley Park for the annual Payson Wildlife Fair, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 12.
Green Valley Park in Payson will undergo a transformation when its grassy expanses turn into a carnival full of wildlife and hands-on outdoor activities for all. The event is presented by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mogollon Sporting Association, U.S. Forest Service, and the Payson Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department.
And it is all free.
Parents and kids can fish, play games and get a close-up look at wildlife, including birds of prey, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters and alligators. There will also be informational booths from a variety of conservation groups.
Green Valley Lake will receive more than double its usual stocking of trout for the event. No fishing license is required for fair attendees and equipment and bait can be borrowed from the free fishing booth at the fair.
For more information, contact Parks, Recreation & Tourism at (928) 947-5242, extension 7.
Kids Fishing with Mark Kile
Registration is now open for youngsters in the first through fifth grades to learn age-appropriate fishing techniques from Mark Kile, professional bass fisherman, at Green Valley Lake. All fishing equipment and bait is provided. Children should bring their own water.
The class will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, May 16 (a half day of school) and costs $5 per child. It will start at the Parks office in Green Valley Park.
Historical Society Dinner
The Northern Gila County Historical Society dinner is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, May 19 at Chaparral Pines Clubhouse. Tickets are $35 each and are available at the Rim Country Museum. Call (928) 474-3483 for more information. Tickets must be purchased by Wednesday, May 16.
The evening includes dinner, live entertainment by Bill Camp, an art auction and Chocolate Bonanza.
The following week it’s time to cowboy up for the Payson Pro Rodeo Committee’s Gary Hardt Memorial Spring Rodeo.
Events start Thursday, May 17 at the Payson Event Center with the Cactus Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Barrel Racing (and more). Gates will open at 5 p.m.; with the performance starting at 7 p.m. Admission is one or more cans of food for area food banks.
The main events of the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo are the evenings of Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 at the Payson Event Center.
Friday will be “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night, with gates opening at 5 p.m. and the performance starting at 7 p.m. The members of the audience are encouraged to wear pink, which will be the contestants’ and arena crew’s color of choice in a continuing effort to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.
Saturday night, the show is a Patriot Performance, honoring wounded and fallen veterans. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the competition starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $14 for adults; $12 for seniors; $10 for children 8 to 12, with those under 18 admitted free of charge; reserved seats can be purchased for $22 per person. Those with active military cards will also be admitted free of charge.
The next edition of The Rim Review, May 16, will be dedicated to the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo and have many more details.
For more information, call (928) 474-9440 or (928) 474-6684.
Payson Aero Fair
For those who would rather fly than rodeo, the Payson Aero Fair is also on Saturday, May 19 at the Payson Airport.
It will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., so there will be plenty of time to take in rodeo fun as well as the Aero Fair.
There is no admission charged.
The day will feature: Fly In Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; all-day EAA Chapter #810 will be offering airplane rides $30 per person; there will also be fly in airplane traffic all day and vendors with something interesting for everyone, including building projects for children.
The event offers an opportunity to see a wide assortment of aircraft, including vintage to classic and modern experimental to Light Sport Aircraft.
Boulders Loop Trail Hike
Looking for a little more quiet? Join hikers on the Payson Area Trails System Boulders Loop Trail Hike at 8 a.m., Saturday, May 19.
This is a beautiful and easy route that starts at the Monument Peak Trailhead at the end of Granite Dells Road (take a right at the light by Safeway). The hike is of moderate difficulty and three miles in length. Be sure to dress appropriately and bring water.
Join Arizona Game and Fish Department bat biologist Nancy Renison for a night of bat watching and listening at Green Valley Lake. Learn about these mysterious night flyers, how they navigate and catch their prey. The event is at dusk, Saturday, May 19 and is open to all ages. The cost is $5 per person, with those 12 and under admitted at no charge.
Register online at www.paysonparks.com or call (928) 474-5242, extension 7 for more details.
The pool at North Rumsey Park on North McLane Road opens for the season Saturday, May 26, and will also be open for Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.
Regular hours for public swimming will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and cost is $2 per visit.
Lap swimming will also be at this time, and costs $2 per visit as well.
Swimming lessons will be offered from 9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., Monday and Wednesday and from 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday. Lessons will start every 30 minutes.
A water aerobics program will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday and Wednesday and costs $2 per visit. Adult Group Swim, with planned workouts provided, will be from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., Monday through Thursday.
Practices for the youth swim team will be from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., Monday through Thursday for those 11 and older, and from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Thursday for those 10 and younger.
Enrollment is now open for the swimming lessons; youth swim team and adult group swim. Pre-register at www.EvoSwimSchool.com/Payson. For more information or to book a pool party, call 1-877-539-5009 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outdoor Photography class
Learn simple techniques to capture the reality of what you are seeing with your camera. Instructor Dennis Fendler will teach effective composition techniques, and how to find ideal locations for outdoor photography. Participants must be familiar with their camera equipment and be able to hike a half-mile.
The program is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, May 26 at the East Verde River. Travel east on Houston Mesa Road about 4 miles; meet in parking lot on right hand side directly after the crossing. The class is open to those 16 and older. The fee is $15 per person.
Co-ed Softball Tournament
A three-game Co-ed Softball Tournament is planned by the parks department for Memorial Day weekend, May 26, 27 and 28. The event is open to all teams registered with ASA and sign-up is now through May 20. Players must be at least 16 to participate.
Summer Rec Program
The town’s Summer Rec Program starts after Memorial Day Weekend, with programs held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Thursday — beginning Tuesday, May 29. There will be physical and cultural activities, field trips and more during the eight-week program.
The program is open to youngsters who will be entering the first through sixth grades in the fall. The cost is $30 per child and includes lunch at Rim Country Middle School.
Pre-registration is required. Call the parks office at (928) 474-5242, extension 7, go online to www.paysonrimcountry.com or stop by the office at 1000 W. Country Club, Payson, at Green Valley Park.
Mountain High Games
Friday, June 1 through Sunday, June 3, the town, with help of many supportive sponsors, will host the annual Mountain High Games with a wide variety of fun and challenging events for people of all ages and skill levels.
Look for details in the May 30 edition of The Rim Review, which will also be an insert in the June 1 edition of the Payson Roundup.
To learn more, go to www.paysonrimcountry.com.
The annual Summer Concert Series by the parks department also starts the first weekend in June.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. every Saturday from June 2 through July 28. The concerts are held in the amphitheater area of Green Valley Park, where the audience can bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the show.
Scheduled to perform are MC6 A Capella with Doo-Wop from the 1950s and 1960s, June 2; J. Powers Band with R&B, Motown music and rock, June 9; Blue Frog with blues, June 16; Breaking Point with both jazz and country music, June 23; hometown favorites, Junction 87 with country music, June 30; more hometown music by the popular John Carpino and the Hot Cappuccinos, July 7; Big Daddy & The Dynamites, blues, July 14; Southern Flight Band with variety and rock music, July 21; and another popular local group, The John Scott Band with blues, July 28.
Summer reading programs
The public libraries in Payson, Pine and Tonto Basin are getting ready for their summer reading programs.
The Tonto Basin Public Library just has parents come in and register their children for the program and then has a party with awards for those who have participated after a few weeks. Stop by the library or call (928) 479-2355 for more details.
Payson Public Library will start taking pre-registration for its Cosmic Super Heroes Summer Reading Tuesday, May 22. The program is free and will be held Tuesdays and Wednesdays, June 5 through July 18, when the awards picnic is planned.
Tuesdays there will be three sessions, children ages 3 to 12 have the option of participating in a session at 10 a.m. or at 2 p.m., while those 10 to 18 will have a session at 4 p.m. Wednesday, sessions will again be offered to those ages 3 to 12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Additionally, the library will continue its program for infants and toddlers at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays.
The summer reading program sessions are limited to 55 youngsters each and walk-ins are discouraged, so get your youngsters registered early.
The Payson Public Library is in Rumsey Park, 328 N. McLane Road, (928) 474-9260.
The Pine Public Library will be celebrating the Arizona Centennial with its summer reading program, which begins Wednesday, June 6.
Designed for children from age of 2-1/2 years through their teens, the program will not only have participants reading books about Arizona, it will also feature guest speakers, such as a snake specialist and rancher. Participants will be given all their materials at the first session they attend, and prizes will be presented at the last session.
The program will be from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., each Wednesday in June in the Library Activity Room. No registration is needed, but to learn more, stop by the library at 6124 N. Randall Place, Pine, call (928) 476-3678 or go online to www.pinepubliclibrary.com.
Kids Quilt Camp
In addition to the summer reading program, the Pine Public Library is once again working with the Strawberry Patchers quilt group to present its popular Kids Quilt Camp this summer.
This program is for youngsters who reside in the Pine-Strawberry area, are between the ages of 8 and 12 and have not participated in earlier programs. It is being requested that parents not try to “help” their children by staying for the program, which will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday, July 9, Tuesday, July 10, Wednesday, July 11 and at 9 a.m., Thursday, July 12. Families and friends will be welcome at the Student Quilt Show planned from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Thursday, July 12.
There is room for only 10 students in the program and the required pre-registration closes Saturday, June 30. No walk-ins will be allowed and if a child is registered, they must participate in all four sessions in which a quilt will be completed.
All supplies and machines for the program are furnished by the Strawberry Patchers.
To learn more, stop by the library or call (928) 476-3678.
Summer at GCC
With the summer session fast approaching, it is still not too late to register for summer classes at Gila Community College. The classes begin Tuesday, May 29. View the entire summer schedule and register online at gilaccc.org or in person at 201 N. Mud Springs Road, Payson.
Computer and general education courses to be offered: eBay as a home based business; computers for beginners; introduction to computers; world of art (1); rocks and minerals; Indian American culture; elementary and intermediate algebra; basic math; nutrition.
Art courses that will be offered: beginning crafts; beginning stained glass; beginning acrylic painting; beginning watercolor; beginning sculpture; beginning and intermediate ceramics.
Physical education courses to be offered this summer are beginning Physioball; Pilates for fitness; physical conditioning/assessment (wellness); Hatha yoga.
Think you might be able to find something to do for you and your family in all that? No? Look for more activities planned for June and the rest of the summer in an upcoming edition of The Rim Review.