The Back 2 School Festival served over 1,300 students at the annual event on August 6 and 7 at Watauga High School.
In addition to handing out school supplies such as backpacks, pencils, crayons, headphones, and three-ring binders, the Back 2 School Festival gave away free shoes and masks, and provided COVID-19 vaccines to attendees 12 and up and their parents.
“We had around 60 people get vaccinated at this year’s event, which is just terrific,” said the festival’s publicity coordinator, Matthew Lucas. “It’s awesome seeing folks step up and get vaccinated and help keep our schools and our community safe.”
Festival attendees were entertained by Charlotte performer, Caleb Sigmon of Sigmon Theatrical, who came up for Friday’s event, along with the Appalachian Football club’s mascot, the Sasquatch. Area businesses and organizations also set up booths in the high school gym, with groups like Daymark helping kids make their own stress balloons, while the Children’s Council signed families up to receive free books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
“It took over 150 volunteers to make this happen,” said Festival Coordinator, Kendra Sink. “We really couldn’t have done this without all our amazing sponsors and volunteers. We’re especially grateful to the Appalachian State Women’s Soccer Team and Mountain Alliance who helped us clean up after the festival. They were incredible.”
Leftover supplies from the festival will be stored in the organization’s supply closet, which is accessible to school social workers year-round for any student who needs assistance getting supplies during the school year. Now in its 9th year, the Back 2 School Festival has helped equip thousands of Watauga County students with everything on their school supply lists. It was originally founded as a collaborative effort between Quiet Givers, the Children’s Council, Western Youth Network, and the Hospitality House. It was incorporated as its own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2019.