An estimated crowd of 2,500 attended Portland Chamber of Commerce’s 10th annual Back to School Bash on Saturday, July 27 at Richland Park.
Families began lining up early in the morning for the event which started at 8 a.m. The chamber gave away 875 back packs filled with school supplies to students. Additional backpacks were given to Portland C.A.R.E.S to distribute.
Twenty-seven bicycles were given away. The event featured inflatables for the children and games at the vendor booths with prizes. Many volunteers from the community helped with registration, manned booths and helped give out backpacks.
A total of 70 local churches, businesses, industries and individuals sponsored the event. There were 25 gold sponsors, 24 silver sponsors and 21 bronze and bicycle sponsors. Many of the sponsors had booths at the bash and passed out additional school supplies.
Chamber President/CEO Sheri Ferguson said, “This was the best Back to School Bash in Portland’s history. The response from the community was amazing. The weather was perfect. The volunteers helped us have a smoother transition among the different things. I can’t say enough about how great the volunteers were.”
In addition to the Back to School Bash, it was Family Fun Day featuring the Health and Safety Day and Touch a Truck beginning at 10 a.m. at the park sponsored by the Portland Police Department and the Portland Fire Department. Approximately 200 attended.
The children had the opportunity to explore fire trucks, police cars and EMS vehicles. There was an obstacle course for the children to attempt. The children were allowed to toss water balloons at Portland Police Sgt. Kenneth Rippy for water sport prizes.
According to Chief Anthony Heavner, “The children loved it.”