Kamani Thomas

Kamani Thomas is all smiles after she got a chance to see what it was like to sit in the driver’s seat of a fire engine at the Back to School Fair. For more photos from the fair, see Page 11. Photo by Stan Schwartz

Students receive supplies for the classroom 

BOWLING GREEN—The main building at the Pike County Fairgrounds was packed with families there to help their children get a good start on the 2019-2020 school year.

Katherine Branstetter, who has helped coordinate the Back to School Fair for the past 11 years said, they were hoping to give away 600 backpacks to students attending Pike County schools.

Judging by the size of the crowd that arrived at the fairgrounds Saturday, they were well on their way to making that goal.

About 20 vendors set up inside the building, with another five or so outside. In addition to the backpacks stuffed with school supplies, the children could get a free haircut or have their hearing tested. They could also have their eyes tested and receive a dental check up or be tested for scoliosis.

A number of churches set up tables along with the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. Outside, there were games and the local fire rescue teams set up to give children tours of their vehicles. The life flight helicopter was also available for tours as was the rescue copter from Hannibal Regional Hospital.

Branstetter said they purchased the backpacks and supplies with money raised from business donations and local churches, as well as grants.

This year, they raised $11,000—of which $7,000 went to school supplies, and $4,000 to buy the backpacks.

“Any supplies and backpacks not given away during the fair,” she said, “would be donated to the Pike County school system for new students.”

The barbers/stylists were local from either Bowling Green or Louisiana. Quite a few of the families took advantage of this opportunity. With about an hour and a half still to go in the fair, more than 40 children had already had their hair cut.

Branstetter said she was amazed at all the people who came out to help get the fair up and running this year. The Boy Scouts arrived early in the morning to help set up. And people from the Pike County Agency for Developmental Disabilities came in and loaded up all the backpacks with supplies.

“So many organizations are involved with this,” she said. And they are all here to help get the children off to a great start for the school year.

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