Sierra Vista area school children Andrea Reed, 8, and little sister Trinity, 4, each receive a backpack provided by The Mall at Sierra Vista during last year’s back to school fair.

SIERRA VISTA — It’s hard to believe, but school starts in three weeks.

Getting ready for school is a busy time for parents.

Along with learning bus routes, studying class schedules and meeting new teachers, they’re out shopping for clothes and supplies as they prepare their children for the upcoming school year.

To help with the transition from summer break to school, many families will take advantage of the Back to School Fair on Saturday, a free event at the Mall at Sierra Vista.

Organized by the City of Sierra Vista Leisure Services in partnership with UA Sierra Vista and First Things First Cochise Region, the annual event — now in its 23rd year — draws between 1,500 and 2,000 people.

“It’s a one stop shop for anything families need to know as they get ready to start the new school year,” said Adam Curtis, public information officer for the City of Sierra Vista. “Vendors will be hosting children’s activities and giving away school supplies. There’s entertainment and all kinds of resource information. Every year, a wide variety of schools, educational organizations, family services and support groups are represented at the event.”

The Thunder Mountain Alpaca Ranch will be there with a few of their alpacas in tow for the community to enjoy, as well as a 4-H petting zoo.

The community is invited to relax in the food court and enjoy a martial arts and gymnastics demonstrations.

“This event really helps families get the school supplies they need for their kids,” said Dee Foster, a long-time community volunteer who belongs to San Pedro Kiwanis and other civic organizations that help children.

Along with giving away car seats, San Pedro Kiwanis will have members of its youth leadership program on hand to talk to the public, including the K-Kids, Builder’s Club and Key Club, Foster said.

“People start lining up at the mall early in the morning for backpacks, car seats, books, tablets and other supplies for their children. For some families, the cost of starting school can be overwhelming. This fair helps families by taking the sting out of school shopping and I’m grateful for the way our community comes together to support it.”

Close to 65 vendors are expected at the mall on Saturday.

Mall Property Manager Sabra Albritton, said they iare always happy to be a community partner for these kinds of events.

“The Back to School Fair helps parents find resources they need for their kids, along with supplies and fun activities for kids, under one roof,” she said. “There are martial arts and gymnastics stage performances in the food court, Guild Mortgage provides free hot dogs and there’s free Pepsi.”

“So, come to the mall on Saturday for a morning of free food, free school supplies, free fun and free air conditioning.”


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