The Northern Gila County Fair could be the Rim Country’s second-oldest continuous event (behind the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo) and it’s this weekend, starting Thursday evening and continuing through Sunday.
Exhibits are at both the Payson Event Center and the Tonto Apache Gym. The exhibits at the TAG are non-agriculture, non-horticulture and non-floriculture.
Events open to the public start at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 5 with an opening ceremony in the main arena of the Payson Event Center. Scheduled for the rest of the evening: a dessert auction in the entertainment tent by the Payson Senior Center, 5:30 p.m.; a talent show in the entertainment tent at 6 p.m.; a worship concert at 7 p.m.; and a theater performance, time to be announced.
Kids Day is celebrated at the fair from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6 and special festivities and events include a magic show at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.; face painting from 8 a.m. to noon; and the arrival of the Native Air Helicopter at 9 a.m. Throughout the day the Oxbow Outfit group will host roping and panning for gold exhibits.
Also scheduled Friday is a draft horse exhibit offered throughout the day; local history stories; an archery demonstration from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and a Mounted Cowboy shooters clinic from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the warm-up arena. Large stock — goats, sheep, steers and swine — takes center stage in the livestock tent, open to the public at 10 a.m. with a show and judging.
A gymkhana horse show, open to all horse types and all ages of competitors, starts at 5 p.m. in the main arena at the event center.
Live music is offered in the entertainment tent and then at 9 p.m. is the 5th Quarter with live music and dancing and free admittance for high school students.
Things get underway at 8 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 7 when the exhibits open and an archery shoot is tentatively set from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., plus team roping is scheduled in the main arena from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The livestock tent is occupied with the small stock show from 8:30 a.m. to noon and check-in for the 10 a.m. cornhole tournament starts at 8:30 a.m. as well at the southwest end of the event center.
Free mammograms are offered at the fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a performance of The Wildflowers group in the entertainment tent and a draft horse expo is slated for the main arena.
The all-important livestock auction is at 4 p.m. in the livestock tent. This is where the young people taking part in 4-H and FFA hope to recoup the costs they have incurred raising livestock for projects and possibly make some money to invest in a new animal project.
The entertaining Ranch Rodeo is at 7 p.m. and features performances by The Wildflowers and Oxbow Outfitters groups.
Top off the day by enjoying live music in the entertainment tent starting at 9 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 8 gates open at noon for a round-robin competition and flat track racing.
For additional information, visit ngcfair.com.