The upcoming school year is the focus of several events Saturday in Columbia County.
University Health Care System is joining with the Columbia County school system to hold the 11th annual Back-to-School Festival at Evans Middle School, 4785 Hereford Farm Road.
"It's just sort of an informational place for the parents to go, and a way for kids to get excited about the school year coming," said Amy Johnston, the community relations specialist at University Health Care.
The festival will take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and more than 30 booths will be set up to offer information on three-point screenings and immunization requirements; drug, alcohol and safety awareness tips; college education planning; school calendars; and bus schedules.
Performances and demonstrations will take place inside the school from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Children can meet Buster, the school system's bus safety robot, Johnston said.
Inside the school, parents can learn how to register their children for dance classes, sports and other recreational programs. Information relating to counseling and tutoring services will be available.
"We'll have some kids' activities that are going to be going on, like jumpers and some art projects that kids can do," Johnston said. Each child entering the festival will receive a free book cover, she said.
"We have more than 800 people come every year," said Johnston, who said the festival gets bigger and better each year.
Also on Saturday, Christ Family Life Center and Grovetown Parks and Recreation will hold the fourth annual Back-2-School Explosion at Liberty Park Community Center, 1040 Newmantown Road, Grovetown.
The event will provide free food, music, games and prizes from noon until 4 p.m.
School-age children, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, can pick up free school supply packets.
Also on Saturday, school buses will be parked at Walmarts in Martinez on Bobby Jones Expressway, in Evans on Washington Road, and in Grovetown on Horizon South Parkway for United Way of the CSRA's Stuff the Bus event.
From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., volunteers will accept school supplies, such as pencils, papers, folders, calculators and backpacks, or monetary donations for students in need.
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