Out & About: Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair

Mayor Eric Johnson, Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Stephanie S. Elizalde, and Junior League of Dallas President Christina N. Eubanks welcomed students to the 27th annual Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair on August 4. 

The fair featured more than 150 vendors inside the Automobile Building and Centennial Hall at Fair Park.

Hosted by Johnson, the fair is a collaboration between the city of Dallas, Dallas ISD, the Junior League of Dallas, nonprofits, corporations, and community volunteers. Each year, it serves more than 10,000 economically disadvantaged students in grade levels pre-K to 12 and their families. It serves as a one-stop shop for Dallas ISD students and their families to receive school supplies, valuable services, and community resources. Attendees have access to immunizations, dental screenings, vision exams, and other health and social services provided by local businesses, organizations, and agencies. This year’s fair had more than 20 sponsors, 150 vendors, and 500 community volunteers.

To kick off the opening ceremony, K104 DJ Mr. HitDat had the audience playing games to win prizes, followed by a performance by the Samuell High School Drumline. WFAA-TV Daybreak Host Marc Istook then took the stage to welcome the students and family members who had been lined up since sunrise to be among the first to enter the fair.

Istook introduced Johnson.

“This family-friendly fair has become a beloved annual tradition here in Dallas before the start of each new school year — and for good reason,” the mayor said. “Each year, because of the generosity of the Dallas community, we equip thousands of Dallas students in grade levels pre-K through 12 with the back-to-school essentials that they need to succeed in the classroom. And this year, I am proud to announce that we will provide school supplies to more Dallas students than in any previous year of this event’s 27-year history. This event is incredibly meaningful to me, personally, as someone who grew up in underserved communities in West Dallas and Oak Cliff. And I’ve heard from other Dallas residents who feel the same way.”

New this year, Junior League of Dallas handled recruiting, training, and supporting the more than 500 event volunteers. Junior League of Dallas also worked with the Mayor’s Office to develop a community outreach plan to ensure Dallas families knew how to register for the event.

“Time and time again, I am reminded that Dallas is strong because our people are strong,” Johnson said. “And the Dallas community’s overwhelming support of this event is further proof.”

Following his remarks, Johnson introduced Elizalde.

“The Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair shows how committed Dallas is to getting all our kids what they need to succeed in school,” Elizalde said. “Other cities don’t have mayors this dedicated to education, and we couldn’t be more grateful for Mayor Johnson’s partnership.”

Istook then introduced the Junior League of Dallas president Christina Eubanks, who said, “education and health are two of our core impact areas in the League, and we strongly believe that our children should have all the necessary tools to be successful in school. This annual fair is the perfect way to leverage our trained volunteers and serve our community by alleviating the financial burden of school supplies and other preparations required for students to achieve and excel throughout the school year.”

Additional speakers included other event sponsors such as Vickie Yakunin, head of community affairs, Amazon; John Votava, director, corporate affairs, Kroger; Dwayne Packer, DallasBuckner sales center manager, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages; Shekita Partee, regional human resources manager, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages; Suzanne Massey, vice president, community partnerships, Santander Consumer USA; Julian Bowman, director of Oak View Group; and Tina Budnaitis, market manager, Walmart.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, students and family members queued into Centennial Hall to check in and circulate through the more than 150 vendor booths lining both Centennial Hall and the Automobile Building. In addition to health screenings and school supplies, children had the opportunity for a free haircut.

For more information, visit mayorsbacktoschoolfair.com.

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