CRESTVIEW — The turnout for Friday’s Back 2 School Bash at Old Spanish Trail Park far surpassed organizers’ expectations.
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"We passed out about 650 book bags with school supplies, which is a record for us," said Rev. Charles Braneff, of Calvary United Church.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 attendees had registered to receive supplies, Braneff said, adding gratitude for event sponsors including Hub City Ford.
The Crestview church and dealership collected school supplies for more than a month with its Stuff the Van drive.
Joanna Rakas enjoyed her first time at the event with her four children.
"We wanted to do the backpack thing," Rakas said. "We got some glue, notebooks, pencils. It's pretty cool; the kids (were) really enjoying themselves."
Free pizza and refreshments were available for all attendees. The main stage under the pavilion provided entertainment, including eating contests that featured items like chocolate-covered onions and squid-filled pastries.
Blaine Pawlak of Crestview, 12, ate two squid-filled pastries. He didn’t win the contest, but he appreciated event organizers’ gesture.
"I ate two out of the three ... I almost puked," he said. "It was nasty, but I think it’s really cool that they did that for us."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.