The 2012 Memorial Day services in Payson will revolve around the theme, “Welcome Home Veterans,” and feature four different programs and separate venues.
Everyone in the Rim Country — residents and visitors alike — is invited to participate in any or all of the services.
There are two services on Sunday, May 27 and two on Monday, May 28.
The annual Pioneer Cemetery tribute begins with a flag-raising ceremony at 8:30 a.m., Sunday, May 27. Presented by the Payson Woman’s Club, which owns and operates the cemetery, the program will include music by Don Gibson and a speaker, according to Pat Cline, president of the Woman’s Club.
“We’re having it at 8:30 in the morning instead of 9:30, so everyone can go to the ceremony at the other cemetery,” Cline said.
The Payson Pioneer Cemetery is at the corner of South Vista Road and West Mesa Drive, north of the Payson Golf Course. Cline said more than 200 veterans are buried in the cemetery, which became the final resting place of Rim Country residents in the early 1880s.
The annual Mountain Meadows Memorial Park tribute is at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 27. Mountain Meadows is in Round Valley, south of Payson. To reach Mountain Meadows Memorial Park take Highway 87 south to Gibson Ranch Road where you will take a left (crossing the northbound lanes of the Beeline), go east on Gibson Ranch Road to Lower Round Valley Road, where you will take a right and then follow the road to the cemetery.
The service will include a welcome by Mark Waldrop and Ken Messinger of Messinger Payson Funeral Home; a flag raising by the Payson Military Honor Guard; a prayer by Pastor Lynn Richie; special remarks by retired United States Marine Corps Maj. Phil Prince; and the playing of “Taps.”
The ceremonies Monday, May 28 include a flag-raising ceremony at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino flagpole at 8 a.m. and the community service at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial at Green Valley Park.
The Green Valley Park program is sponsored by the Payson Patriotic Events Committee and will include patriotic music; the presentation of colors; addresses by Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and guest speakers; a tribute by the Payson Military Honor Guard with a rifle salute and “Taps”; a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace”; and a moment of silence. Additional elements of the program are still being finalized, according to retired U.S.M.C. Col. Bill Sahno of the Patriotic Events Committee.
Christopher Creek/Tonto Village
• The Tonto Village Fire Department’s Fireflies Auxiliary will have a breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. with a sausage patty, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, juice and coffee for only $5. There will also be a bake sale.
• The Christopher/Kohl’s Fire Department and the Firebelles Auxiliary will celebrate with a festival at the fire station from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 26 it includes lunch, a book sale, a bake sale and a silent auction.
• The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Christopher Creek is holding a Memorial Day community barbecue and potluck. All are welcome to attend at 5 p.m., Saturday, May 26. The event will take place outside at the church.
Hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share. For more information, call (928) 478-4882.
• Memorial Day community barbecue at Misty’s Creations resale shop on Hwy. 87, just south of the Twin Pines Shopping Center.
• Annual Memorial Day weekend arts and crafts show in the Gila County Courthouse parking lot with more than 50 vendors displaying a variety of wares.
• Payson Farmers Market opens for its fourth season Saturday, May 26, behind Chili’s in the Sawmill Crossing and will run from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday.
• Pine Library Friends annual Book Sale and Raffle; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26 and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, May 27. The Movie Madness Raffle accompanying the sale includes 40 or more DVDs and a DVD player. Raffle tickets are 15 for $10, 6 for $5 or 1 for $1. The drawing for the raffle is at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 27. The sale will be in the Library Activity Room located off Hwy 87 and Randall Place in Pine behind the Community Center.
• The Pine Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild Memorial Day Festival is Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27 at the Pine Community Center and features the work of 85 Southwest U.S. artists and crafters; starts with a pancake breakfast by Strawberry’s Elite and the Pine Strawberry Fire Department and also includes Navajo tacos by the Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation; purchase raffle tickets for a beautiful quilt.