Back 2 School Festival drive-thru schedule

BOONE — Due to ongoing issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Back 2 School Festival has announced that this year’s event will be drive-thru only. The 2020 Back 2 School Festival will be held at Watauga High School over two days; Friday, Aug. 7, and Saturday, Aug. 8, with each school being assigned a specific time for their families to come pick up supplies.

The schedule is as follows:

FRIDAY, AUG. 7

• 9-10:30 a.m. Green Valley

• 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mabel/Parkway

• 1-2:30 p.m. Bethel/Blowing Rock

• 3-4:30 p.m. Cove Creek/Two Rivers

SATURDAY, AUG. 8

• 9-10:30 a.m. Hardin Park (Last names A-K)

• 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Hardin Park (Last names L-Z)

• 1-2:30 p.m. Valle Crucis/Home School

• 3-4:30 p.m. Watauga High

For the safety of children, families and volunteers, the school building will not be open, and families will pick up their supplies in a drive-thru fashion. Students are not required to attend the festival with their parent/guardian; representatives from each Watauga County school will be present at their school’s assigned time to check in and register attendees. In order to serve everyone in a timely and efficient manner, the festival will only able to serve families at their school’s designated time, and requests that attendees do not arrive before their scheduled time slot, as they will not be able to join the line until that time.

“Our mission remains the same,” said festival coordinator Kendra Sink, “to make sure each Watauga County student returns to school with the tools they need to start the school year off confident and prepared. This year is going to look a lot different from previous years, but we are still committed to providing kids with much needed school supplies.”

Sink added that the Back 2 School Festival still needs around $10,000 in donations in order to meet the “unprecedented need in our community.”

In addition to the drive-thru style pickup, face coverings will be required for all attendees, both inside their vehicles while picking up supplies, and inside the shoe tent where children will be selecting a new pair of shoes. Only 25 people will be allowed inside the tent at a time.

“The school-specific pickup times will allow us to maintain social distancing in compliance with the guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services and the executive order from Governor Cooper,” said the festival’s publicity coordinator, Matthew Lucas. “This year has given us some unique challenges, so we’re asking everyone to bear with us so we can get everyone through the line as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible. Every child who needs them will get the school supplies they need.”

The Back 2 School Festival was created in 2013 to provide school supplies free of charge for any Watauga County student whose family is struggling to meet the high cost of back to school shopping. Last year the festival provided supplies for over 1,200 students, and anticipates a higher number this year due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

You can learn more by visiting www.back2schoolfestival.org.

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