Kids Day returned to Maricopa Wells Middle School for its 16th year Saturday and its turnout did not disappoint.
Sponsored by 100 local groups, organizers estimate 5,000 kids and their parents showed out to be educated and entertained.
Goats and guinea pigs featured in a petting zoo provided by the local 4-H club and Gud Ark Sanctuary.
Maricopa Police Department brought its famed canine cop, K9 Karma, while Maricopa Fire and Medical Department used one of its fire trucks to teach children about fire safety.
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office showed off its American flag-wrapped Humvee and the county Attorney’s Office offered drug awareness activities.
Meanwhile, Phoenix Children’s Hospital held a “bike rodeo” in the school’s courtyard.
Some nostalgically ‘90s icons made an appearance, too — Mario and Luigi, Sonic, Barbie and the Power Rangers. Smokey the Bear and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Baxter the Bobcat delighted kids and adults alike.
Throughout the celebration, toys and bicycles were gifted in prize drawings.
Event directors John Donohue and May McCarthey said they hope that the event inspired kids to achieve great things and strive to become benevolent members of the community.
“It was an amazing turnout,” said McCarthey.
The annual event debuted in 2007 but went virtual in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Donohue and McCarthey revived in-person festivities last year.
“We’re always trying to find more value that we can bring to Kids Day,” said Donohue.
View photos by Bryan Mordt and Victor Morano: