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Organizers of this week's Golden Onion Days celebration say the event is always scheduled on Labor Day weekend, making it the last city celebration of the year. It's meant to show off "this unique community," they say.

Carol Butler, the festivity's publicity chairman, said events scheduled for this year's celebration not only appeal to a wide age and activity group but also showcase most of the city's scenic attractions. For example, the annual 10K and 5K road races run through Spring Lake, the Best Ball Golf Tournament is at Gladstan Golf Course in Elk Ridge, the Labor Day Grand Parade runs from the high school down to the city's southern borders and helicopter rides are supposed to give customers a quick tour of the community."We (the Onion Days Committee) have really gotten excited this year about trying to spread the word about our community," she said. "What better way is there to show our city than by scheduling events all around it?"

However, the celebration has lots of events to please more spectator-oriented audiences as well, including "lots of arts and crafts shows, displays in the park and a wonderful play production (Payson Community Theater's production of `Annie Get Your Gun')," Butler said.

There are also events for those on a limited budget, with many free displays - including a children's arts and crafts show - as well as band concerts and talent shows.

Although last year's citywide water shortage led to the elimination of an old festival event, a water polo game, that event returns this year, as does the firefighters' open house.

"Anyone who has ever wanted to sit in the engine or wear the captain's helmet can now do so," Butler said. "It should really be wonderful."

All the contests, competitions and events show that the community is still growing and finding itself and still has pride, according to Butler.

"Even though we're not a bustling metropolis, I think this shows that the community really has a lot of spirit and has a lot to offer both its residents and visitors," she said. "I think this is the best place and way to end summer and to celebrate Labor Day."



Golden Onion Days schedule of events

All events are in the city park unless noted:

- Payson Community Theater production of "Annie Get Your Gun": Thursday, Aug. 31, through Saturday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Monday, Sept. 4, 4 p.m.; Payson High School Auditorium, 1050 S. Main. Tickets: $5 for adults and $25 for families.

- "Payson V": Thursday through Saturday and Monday, 7:30 p.m.; Peteetneet Academy, 50 S. 600 East. Tickets: $4, $12 for families.

- Sidewalk sales: Friday, Saturday and Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; downtown business area.

- Food booths and carnival: Friday through Monday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Concessions and ride ticket fees.

- Fireworks: Friday, 9 p.m.; city racetrack, 900 S. Main.

- Synchronized swimming and water ballet: Saturday, 11:30 a.m.; city swimming pool.

- Cowboy poetry: Saturday, 1 p.m.

- Firefighters' open house: Monday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., city firehouse.

- 10K and 5K road races: Monday, 6 a.m.; begins at city park. Registration: $12 with T-shirt, $9 without.

- Grand Parade: Monday, 10 a.m.; begins at high school, 1050 S. Main.

- Helicopter rides: Monday, 1 to 7 p.m.; fee charged.