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tbalcom / Trudy Balcom/The Independent 

Dancers participating in the grand entry visit with each other before entering the dance arena at the first-ever Sunrise Mountain Powwow held Saturday and Sunday at Sunrise Ski Park. Hundreds attended and participated, including numerous tribal singing groups.

tbalcom / Trudy Balcom/The Independent 

A colorful dancer steps out in the Tiny Tots competition.

An extra day for the 44th Annual Fourth of July Arts & Crafts Festival

PINETOP – With a four-day Fourth of July holiday this year, the 44th Annual Fourth of July Arts & Crafts Festival has added an extra day of enjoyment of exhibits, food, and music featuring 65 artists. The event, held at The Orchard behind Charlie Clark’s, is the annual fundraiser for the High Country Art Association and begins July 4 through July 7.

Each day the event opens at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. except closing day when it will conclude at 3 p.m.

Whether you are a regular or a newbie to the annual event, there is truly something for everyone. It’s family-friendly and people add it to their Fourth of July things-to-do list every year. Not only will local artists have their works on display, but Southwest artists from the Valley, New Mexico and Colorado will also be participating. There will also be four or five Native American artists. One can expect to find fine arts and crafts including fused glass, bronzes, nature art, American and Western themed art, paintings, ceramics, handcrafted jewelry, pottery, gourds, woodworking and more.

Chairperson of this year’s event is Sandy Pendleton, who is an accomplished glass artist herself. She said the silent auction will begin on opening day and will close at noon on Sunday. The items for the auction this year are not only donated by association members but each exhibitor is also donating an item. This is a group effort and many members of the art association are volunteering their time for this event.

Not only is this a fun event for locals and visitors but the High Country Art Association will use the proceeds from the event for scholarship programs and workshops. Their goal is to encourage and promote the artistic growth of the visual arts in the White Mountain communities through a variety of activities.

Pendleton explained that over the years they have raised over $50,000 in scholarship monies for local high school and community college students who have an interest in pursing a career in art or as an art educator. The application is available online for those who wish to apply. She added that the funds are used to help local teachers get the art supplies they need regularly.

“Over the years High Country Art Association has been known by several names,” said Pendleton. “It was started in 1974 by a small group of artists who wanted to share their love of art. Our new location is about twice the size of the space we had before. Everybody in the gallery is local and are either part-time or full time. Artwork is rotated monthly.”

High Country Art Association is a non-profit organization. It has a gallery and a gift shop, offers classes and is open to all members. It is located at 13A East White Mountain Boulevard, Pinetop (across from Safeway). More information can be found at

tbalcom / Trudy Balcom/ The Independent 

A senior men's dancer.