[Boone, NC] – The 10th annual Back 2 School Festival was held on Saturday, August 13 at Watauga High School, providing school supplies to 1,687 students and their families, shattering the previous attendance record of 1,300 students set in 2021.
“We’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and this was by far the largest event we’ve ever had,” said Festival Coordinator, Kendra Sink. “The community really came out for us in a huge way this year.”
In addition to backpacks, pencils, erasers, notebook paper, binders, and other school necessities, festival goers were also provided with a new pair of shoes to start the school year off fresh. “It really goes to show how great the need is in our community and how many people are struggling to meet basic needs” said the festival’s publicity coordinator, Mattie Lucas. “It’s been a rough couple of years for a lot of people, and we’re grateful for the support from the community to help alleviate some of that strain for local families.”
Representatives from local non-profits, businesses, churches, and civic organizations set up in the school gym with activities and goodies for attendees, while Sigmon Theatrical’s Caleb Sigmon, was on hand to entertain the kids with his puppet, Russell the Crow.
The Back 2 School Festival was founded on the principle that all students deserve to start off the school year on equal footing with their peers, equipped with the tools they need to go back to school confident and prepared. The festival also maintains a supply closet that school social workers can access to make sure students have the supplies they need all year long. It took a crew of over 200 volunteers to run the event, with a dedicated board and planning committee working year-round to make the festival possible. “We couldn’t have done this without our incredible volunteers and the support of the community” said volunteer coordinator, Anna Jaquays-Floyd. “We are so grateful for their continuing support.”
Major sponsors of the festival include Mast General Store, Americans Helping Americans, Astro Yeti Media Company, Alliance Bible Fellowship, Mount Vernon Baptist Church, La Tortillaria, and the North Carolina Community Foundation. The Festival was founded in 2013 as a collaboration between Quiet Givers, Western Youth Network, Hospitality House, and the Children’s Council. It became its own 501(c) 3 non-profit organization in 2019. Those wishing to learn more about the organization can visit their website at www.back2schoolfest.org.