Main Street Merchant logo

The logo for the Main Street Merchants. The group plans on hosting a Fourth of July celebration even with a pandemic and fires looming in the background.

The Main Street Merchants plan to put on as much of a Fourth of July celebration as Payson can handle.

“We’re trying to give them a little bit of normal for anything they’ve been through or will face,” said Minette Hart, the chair of the organization.

Payson businesses have had an unimaginable year with a pandemic shut down, quickly followed by the fifth largest wildfire in Arizona history at their doorstep. The Bush Fire shut down Highway 87 for a week.

“We need this,” said Hart who can feel how the upheaval in daily routines has placed a burden on the community.

Already the town has canceled the annual fireworks display for public safety reasons, another blow to tradition.

But Hart, along with Mary Hanson, leader of the events group the Main Street Mafia, decided it’s time to celebrate — outdoors.

The four-day street fair starts at 1 p.m. each day from Thursday, July 2 through Sunday, July 5.

Each participating Main Street business has partnered with local and town approved vendors to create a fair with games, food and crafts.

The merchants hope residents set up at Green Valley Park as they do every year, even if the fireworks don’t go off.

“I don’t think there is anything against doing that,” said Hart. “I would love to see the park full.”

The Roundup reached out to town personnel to see how they plan to support the merchants’ Fourth of July celebration, but had not heard back by press time.

But attendees should be aware that Mayor Tom Morrissey signed a proclamation recently that requires “everyone who cannot reasonably maintain social distance of 6 feet, must cover their mouth and nose with fabric or a mask.” This includes outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, parking lots and other areas.

Throughout the four days of the street fair, Rim Country Flowers will have snow cones, crafts and artists. Art students will provide snacks. The Asian Food Truck & Ice Cream will set up in the parking lot of the Old Body Elegance Day Spa building.

Serendipity on Main will have BFF smoked meats, Heather’s Cottage Bakery and Mama P’s as outside vendors.

Marguerite Turlukis will show jewelry, along with beeswax health and beauty supplies.

Besides its barbecue menu, games, music and local artists, the Oxbow Saloon, Bar & Grill will host the Cousins Maine Lobster and Philly Up food trucks.

On the Fourth, the Oxbow, in partnership with Sherry Long and the Payson High School cheerleaders, will provide games for the little ones from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Hart said more vendors might participate, but the merchants have made sign ups fluid.

“This will be subdued, but the most needed Fourth of July,” said Hart. “It’s not just the money issue, people need to connect and get some positive vibes.”

For more information please call Minette Hart at 928-978-1119.

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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