SIERRA VISTA — Independence Day festivities in Sierra Vista kicked-off bright and early Thursday morning with the annual Pets & People Promenade.

While costume-clad canines were the event’s biggest draw, there were a few other creatures represented in the mix.

Take Oliver, a good-natured Irish Dexter steer who endured the humiliation of promenading as “Toy Story” pink piggy bank, Hamm.

“He gets to do stuff like this a lot,” said Emily Addington, Oliver’s owner, who came decked out as Toy Story character Jessie. “He’s really good about putting up with costumes, but I don’t think he cares much for the pig ears that we bobby-pinned on him.”

Addington and Oliver were one of four animal-human teams in the San Pedro Spirits 4-H Club entry, parading around as Toy Story characters. Also represented were Woody (Jolene Adington) with a Suffolk sheep as Barbie and Lisa Nass as Little BoPeep and her sheep-partner Ridley, both wearing matching purple.

Shannon Addington came as Buzz Lightyear with Slinky Dog, whose real name is Punch. The San Pero Spirits entry clinched first place in the promenade’s “Best Group” category for their efforts.

“Fourth of July is our club’s favorite holiday,” Jolene Addington said. “We’ve been doing this parade for at least 11 years now — maybe even longer — back when it started in the Denny’s parking lot and paraded along Martin Luther King to the park.”

Andrea Casey and her family come from Portland, Oregan to participate in the promenade.

“This is the third year we’ve come to Sierra Vista to do this,” Casey said. “We’re field medics, helping wounded warriors. Orbit, our dog, is carrying the front end of a stretcher with wounded warriors wrapped in bandages.” With 9-year-old Sophia Casey posing as a medic, she gave Orbit a helping hand by carrying the back part of the stretcher. Lucy Casey, 7, was the group’s doctor, while Danielle Widhalm stepped in as another medic.

The family’s field medic entry won the promenade’s “Most Original” category Thursday, as well as the People’s Choice award.

Decked out as the Mario Brothers gang, Blake Hewlett, 9, and his younger brother Striker, 8, pulled a crated Sulcata Tortoise named Master for their entry. The two youngsters, sporting Mario Brothers mustaches are visiting Sierra Vista from Blackfoot, Idaho, were accompanied by their aunt, Tiffany Wooton, as Princess Peach, along with a Dalmatian named Bowser.

The annual Promenade is organized by New Frontier Animal Medical Center. The event features a trick dog demonstration by New Frontier Veterinarian Maggie Weston, who competes in stunt dog events all over the United States and has won championship titles.

The promenade is judged, with first- through third-place awards presented to the top three entries in each category. Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller served as a judge and presented the awards.

“I love animals and this is one of my favorite Fourth of July events in Sierra Vista,” said Saundra Crane, an RVer who spends a couple of months every summer in Cochise County.

“I actually plan my Fourth of July around this event because it’s so much fun to watch. The animals are cute, the kids are adorable and the costumes are so creative. It’s a fun way to start the Fourth of July.”

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