Back-to-School Spectacular this Friday in Cleveland

The City of Cleveland’s Back-to-School Spectacular is this Friday, Aug. 3, from 5-7 p.m., at the Cleveland Civic Center. While the crowd numbers are expected to be higher than last year, Cleveland Civic Center Director Frieda Joyce says she and her staff are ready.

“Last year we only had 300 backpacks and we ran out. This year I don’t think we are at risk of running out,” said Joyce, noting that the backpacks were donated by the Health Center of Southeast Texas.

With families still recovering from Hurricane Harvey and the growth at Cleveland ISD, Joyce said participating businesses this year were told to prepare for a larger crowd.

“There are a lot of students out there in need. Parents are working and trying to make ends meet, and some just can’t buy all those school supplies, so we are doing our part to help by giving them away for free,” Joyce said.

Roughly three dozen businesses are expected to hand out supplies that include glue sticks, pencils, pens, paper, hand sanitizer and rulers.

Some of the booths will offer information on Cleveland ISD bus routes, vision screenings and Austin Memorial Library cards. There will also be several business mascots on hand, such as H-E-B Buddy, A-Z Dental’s “Tooth,” and Minnie and Mickey.

“We also will have a surprise guest, but I say who it is,” she said.

There are no eligibility requirements to participate. Anyone in need is welcome.

Last year, parents and children began lining up outside the civic center at 3 p.m., two hours before the event started. Joyce doesn’t feel it is necessary to wait so long as they had plenty of supplies last year for every child, but she’s taking precautions to keep people safe in the summer heat by putting out large industrial fans and providing water.

“We have to lock the doors of the civic center for the businesses to get ready. Then at 5 p.m., we will open and let everyone inside. Once they go through the doors, we let them go so they can make the rounds to every booth,” she said. “This is a big event and we just enjoy it every year.”

For more information on the event, call 281-592-2395.

Vanesa Brashier,

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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