DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Families in Dallas are getting ready for the first day of classes at the Mayor’s Back To School Fair.
Families started lining up as early as 3 a.m. to take advantage of the free event, but the fair didn’t officially begin until 8:00 a.m.
While parents can bring their children to take advantage of free health, dental and vision screenings, along with immunizations and haircuts, the majority of the people who spoke with CBS 11 News said they are hoping to get their children one of the backpacks filled with school supplies.
The Back To School Fair is in its 22nd year and for many has become a one-stop shop to get students ready for school.
The event is so important that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said this year the city felt they shouldn’t limit who could attend. “The big news is all families within DISD (Dallas Independent School District) can come out and participate,” he said. “There are so many families in need we just said let’s not fill out the paperwork, let’s open it up to everybody.”
In addition to school supplies and health services, school district staff and city leaders will be on hand with information on topics like school safety, health and nutrition, and DISD magnet schools.
“Making sure those kids feel good the first day of school is so important and when they don’t have school supplies they feel a little left out,” said Mayor Rawlings. “The City of Dallas, all these businesses, and myself, we are all so pleased to help these families out.”
Parents like Hollie Tave say the fair means so much for those who aren’t financially able to purchase school supplies. “It’s very helpful with parents like me that are single mothers that have to help get their kids ready for school.”
Volunteers are expected to hand out some 15,000 sets of grade-appropriate school supplies. Private companies have donated all of the goods and services at the fair, so no tax dollars are involved.
Mayor Rawlings says the event is meant to help not just the young ones, but also the entire family. “We’ve got our city’s office of welcoming communities (Dallas Office of Welcoming Communities) here, so if you’re from out of town and you need to fill out some forms, [or] you’ve got some questions we can help with in other ways besides just school.”
The fair will also feature musical entertainment, kids activities, games, interactive demonstrations and more. Between 25,000 and 30,000 people are expected to attend the Mayor’s Back To School Fair, which runs from until 2:00 p.m.
Parents who haven’t already will need to complete a registration form and show proof their child attends a Dallas ISD school or that the family lives in the City of Dallas.