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Kids Day Maricopa

A helicopter, firetruck, construction equipment, police, superheroes, Smoky Bear, face-painting, petting zoos, dunk tanks, games, activities, vendor booths, mascots, youth entertainers, presentations and more were all part of Kids Day Maricopa at Maricopa Wells Middle School hosted by A1 Health and Wellness. The free event has become a staple of the fall  and draws hundreds of children and their parents.

By Fran Lyons

Kids Day Maricopa
When: Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Maricopa Wells Middle School, 45725 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: Free
Info: kidsdaymaricopa@yahoo.com

Celebrating its 12th year, Kids Day Maricopa will be Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maricopa Wells Middle School, 45725 W. Honeycutt Ave.

Free, fun and educational, Kids Day Maricopa offers an array of resources that expand awareness and bring attention to the three key components of the event: Health, Safety and Environmental considerations.

With the focus on children, specific topics this year will address how to prepare for and manage excessive heat in our desert climate, water safety and “Stranger Danger.”  Tips and tools will inform and illustrate how to recognize potential risks, develop strategies and form a plan to maximize safety.

Of course, almost any kid will tell you the biggest reason to go to Kids Day Maricopa is the free stuff.  Free food, free toys and free balloons.  Also at the top of list is face painting, appearances by sports mascots “Big Red” of the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks’ “Baxter” and “Striker” and “The Sidewinders” of the Rattlers.

There will also be a special appearance by “Smokey Bear” who is handing out cupcakes in celebration of his 75th birthday. McGruff, the crime prevention dog, will also be there waiting to greet kids and share some great ideas.

Maricopa Police Department will feature K-9 demos and motorcycle demos, among their presentations designed to inform and instruct, as well provide an exciting experience and entertain the audience. Say hi to Sgt. Hal Koozer while you’re there.

You won’t want to miss former Harlem Globetrotter Anthony “Buckets” Blakes’ presentation “Above the Influence.” Using the game of basketball as a model and a practice, along with his youth program’s four tenets – communication, attitude, respect and education, Blakes teaches kids to rise above peer pressure and develop personal life skills.

All this and much more is being delivered by Dr. John Donohue and his wife May, the founders and hosts of the event, with the help and support of a core group of dedicated senior volunteers and recruited volunteer teams, including students.

“Over the years we have amassed over 1,000 contacts and a multitude of event resources,” Donohue said. “Our volunteers are the heart of the program. Just the joy and the impact of Kids Day Maricopa on the community is an inspiration and my greatest reward. That is our mission accomplished.”

For information on hosting a booth, being a sponsor or volunteering call 520-494-7788 or e-mail: kidsdaymaricopa@yahoo.com or drjohnd1@yahoo.com.


An annual event focused on health, safety and environment awareness for children and families boasted its largest attendance over the weekend.

Kids Day Maricopa celebrated its 10th annual event Sept. 16 with “thousands” of attendees at Maricopa Wells Middle School, according to organizers John Donohue and May McCarthey.

Local law enforcement, government leaders and various organizations provided resources for families, while multiple booths offered plenty of opportunities for fun.

Kids Day Maricopa will take over Maricopa Wells Middle School on Saturday. File photo

Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog are coming back to town for Kids Day Maricopa.

The free, annual event is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maricopa Wells Middle School. It is packed with activities, information, prizes, food and live music. This is the eighth year Dr. John A. Donohue of A-1 Health & Wellness has coordinated the event.

“We will have the fire department with a fire truck, and the police department will be there teaching child safety,” Donohue said.

Besides a fire truck, Maricopa Fire Department will bring its “fire safety house,” showing children what to do in case of fire or other danger. Maricopa Police Department will bring police cars and motorcycles along with the K-9 Unit. The officers are offering free fingerprinting of all children and safety demos.

Ak-Chin Fire Department will demonstrate seatbelt and car seat safety. Pinal County Sheriff’s Office will have its K-9 Unit and a helicopter. Donohue will provide free health screenings. Former NBA player A.C. Turner will present a basketball clinic. Local favorites Laura Walsh and Joanna Joy will provide music for much of the day. Businesses and organization are also participating in Kids Day Maricopa.

Donohue said all are required to provide information on health and safety. Global Water will promote water conservation, and Ace Hardware will bring a Master Gardener to show how to grow a natural garden. ATA Karate Kids will have a stranger-danger and safety demo. Desert Sun Performing Arts and Desert Star Gymnastics will perform. The event is sponsored by the Ak-Chin Indian Community and Spike Beverage.

Look for a face-painting booth, a 4-H Club petting zoo, yoga and zumba with the City of Maricopa and information from First Things First, Head Start, Empact, AZ Tech Radiology, Southwestern Pediatric and the First Tee. Donohue said the activities will be spread around the school grounds and inside.

There will be prize drawings all day for toys and bicycles. Food, drinks and balloons are free. Grand prizes will be given out from 3 to 4 p.m. Besides Smokey and McGruff, don’t be surprised to run into Sparky the Fire Dog, Kung Fu Panda and Kermit the Frog.


If You Go …

What: Kids Day Maricopa

When: Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: Maricopa Wells Middle School, 54725 W.  Honeycutt Ave.

How much: Free

Contact: 520-494-7788