The FishHawk Area Networking Group (FANG) is gearing up to host its Ninth Annual Back-to-School Festival this Saturday, July 23, from 9 a.m. to noon at the . This event is the largest community function put on by FANG and is designed to help local area school children obtain supplies needed to excel.
Families from around the area are invited to attend the event, which will feature neighboring businesses, restaurants and even county officials educating the community on fire safety and police watch. The kids will be entertained with bounce houses, kettle corn, celebrity characters like Plato the Publixaurus and the YMCA "Y Guy."
Area restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A, will be sampling delicious food throughout the morning.
Admission to the event is free; however, a $10 donation of school supplies or cash is requested to benefit the YMCA's Migrant Backpack Program. FANG was able to help 400 children receive school supplies through last year's event.
"This year, we are hoping to collect more than 1,000 supplies and backpacks for the YMCA," said Marie Gilmore, a FANG member and a festival participant since its inception nine years ago.
The event takes about three months of planning from FANG members, area businesses, and volunteers.
"It is our showcase event of the year," Gilmore said. "This is a chance for the community to get to know its area businesses and do good at the same time."
Along with the aforementioned activities, Theatre Arts and Dance Alliance will be performing, and there will be door prizes and giveaways from some of the vendors. The public can also register for FishHawk Ranch youth sports.
The event will be held rain or shine on Saturday.
The FishHawk Area Networking Group, now in its ninth year of existence, meets the second and fourth Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in FishHawk at the Palmetto Club with the intention of supporting local businesses.
For deals on school supplies that will be collected at Saturday's event, see on Bloomingdale Patch.