DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite the brutal summer heat, thousands of parents and students waited in line outside on Thursday morning for the Dallas Mayor’s annual ‘Back to School’ Fair at Fair Park. This is the 16th year for the event, which aims to get students in the Dallas Independent School District started on the right foot.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and DISD Superintendent Mike Miles will both be on hand for the event, as well as other school district officials, to tell parents about the education program and prepare kids for the upcoming school year. Students attending the fair will receive a package of free school supplies, but many additional services are also offered including immunizations, vision and dental screenings, and haircuts.

“It’s important because we’ve got an opportunity gap in the City of Dallas,” Rawlings said before Thursday’s event. “Those that are above the poverty level get their kids ready for school. They get the eyeglasses. They get the dental screenings. These folks [who are attending the fair] are beneath the poverty level, and we need to get them ready of school.”

The first day of classes in Dallas is just four weeks away. “Day one, they gotta be hitting the books,” Rawlings added, “and we want them to succeed.”

About 35,000 people showed up for last year’s event, and a similar crowd is expected this year as well. The fair is open until 3:00 p.m. Thursday.

Heat is always an issue for those attending the annual event. Three people had to be treated for heat-related issues while standing outside in line last year. The high temperature on Thursday is expected to hit 107 degrees. The city has taken extra precautions because of the triple-digit heat, such as tents placed around the lines and workers passing out water to those who are waiting. Dallas Fire-Rescue will be on-hand to monitor folks standing in the sun, but parents are also urged to bring their own water and umbrellas to protect themselves and their kids.

After waiting in any outdoor lines, parents and students do end up in cool air conditioned buildings.

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