MIDLOTHIAN — Countless local organizations will soon ban together to support Midlothian youth with the annual "Mayor's Back to School Bash."

The family-friendly event "provides an opportunity for kids to get ready to go back to school but to also have fun,” expressed Gina Moore, the City of Midlothian’s’ special events and recreation coordinator. "So we hope to start it off with a wonderful bash.”

Though the party has grown in popularity over time, with more than 300 students and parents attending last year, the event’s humble history began with a simple desire to fill a need.

“Manna House has been doing school supplies since day one,” recalled Sissy Franklin, Director of Manna House. “And about ten years ago, Life Church was doing their back to school bash, and we were doing ours, so we decided to combine the two.”

“Then about three years ago, I added the Mayor, and after doing that, we got a whole lot more interest from people taking part in it and were able to offer kids more variety,” she added.

From carnival games to zip lining, a live DJ, bounce houses and face painting, students are guaranteed an entertaining day.

“We’ll have the candy cannon that shoots out candy throughout the event,” Moore noted. “We’ll also have a dunking booth, and usually the first participant that gets dunked is our Mayor. So he’ll get up there and who ever can dunk him gets major bragging rights.”

Along with a chance to soak the Midlothian Mayor Bill Houston and participate in interactive games, a massive cookout will also be provided free of charge.

“We’re providing between 450 to 500 hot dogs, and I’m sure there’s going to be some hamburgers in there too with all the fixings,” described Alfonso Hernandez, Atmos Energy’s manager of public affairs. This will be the fourth year for the Waxahachie-based company to provide food for the bash.

“Our guys love doing this, and we look forward to it every year, especially when we get to bring out ‘Big Tex,’” he chuckled. “It’s our huge grill that we have to pull with an F-450 pickup truck, and we’ve named it ‘Big Tex.'"

Combining community efforts, Hernandez went on to compliment the event’s impact with those involved.

“We just want to be good corporate citizens like much of the organizations that are going to be there, we want to be apart of the community we serve,” Hernandez recognized. “[...] It’s for the kids and for a good cause that helps our community get off on the right foot with the school year starting back up. It’s going to be a great time."

Sponsored by United Way of Ellis County, Midlothian ISD, the City of Midlothian and Manna House, the celebration also doubles as a one-stop hub for school information and countless outlets for parent’s to check off their child’s school list for the semester.

“Dr. Felty’s office is going to be there, signing kids up who need sports physicals, and then do the physicals at their office the following Friday,” Franklin acknowledged. “We’ll be providing immunization shots and haircuts as well.”

“We’ll also have eye exams, and we’ve got Mission Midlothian telling single parents about their programs,” she included. “Reach Council, First Look, Glory Land Express, Heritage House, Aramark, and all kinds of other agencies are coming with information for the parents.”

“We’ve also received support from Baylor, Costco, Hope Clinic, and Rally Sportswear,” Moore added to the list of vendors. “So we have a lot of support from the community.”

Held at Frank Seale Middle School with free admissions to the general public, Moore and Franklin encourage the community to stop by the festival-like gathering for family-friendly entertainment and helpful information.

“It’s been a phenomenal event every year, and it’s one last party before school starts, with water slides and all sorts of activities, so we hope the kids and parents will enjoy it,” Moore heartened.

“If life was Twitter, this event would be trending right now,” Franklin laughed. “We put on a day for these kids to get pumped and excited about school. It’s for any kids in any school district to come and be apart of the day’s activities.

“Everything is free, and it’s just going to be a fun day,” she finished.

The Mayor’s Back to School Bash will be held at Frank Seale Middle School on 700 George Hopper Road in Midlothian on August 12 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. For more information call (972)-775-1800.

---

Chelsea Groomer, @Chelsea Groomer

(469)-517-1450