VFCOC_LOGO By Marie Gilmore

This year’s 12th Annual Back to School Festival, sponsored by the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber of Commerce, will benefit thousands of local children with much-needed back to school supplies. The event will be held indoors at the Campo Y gymnasium on Sunday, July 27 from 1-4 p.m.

“We had such a successful event last year and the indoor, air conditioned space and the partnership with the Y was a great success,” said chamber President Bridget Jenkins-Wilson. “Moving into the air conditioning at the Y, where the school supplies need to go for the school supply backpack program anyway, is a win-win for us.”

With more than 75 local business booths, samples from 15 restaurants, music, extracurricular demonstrations, free giveaways and door prizes; there is much to see at this event. Admission is free but $10 worth of new school supplies or a $10 cash donation per family is requested. The supplies will benefit the Y’s backpacks for school children collection effort. Last year, more than 1,000 students received supplies as the result of the event. In addition to food and business booths, Pure Power Productions will emcee the event and there will be performances by TADA, Music Showcase and Sidekicks Martial Arts. Chick-fil-A Lake Brandon Village & Westfield Mall, Sno Cones, Kettle Corn and more will provide samples.

 “This is one annual event that highlights the summer,” said Chick-fil-A Lake Brandon Village & Westfield Mall Owner Paul Holmberg. “We have been participants every year, and each year it continues to grow and expand.”

Representatives from FishHawk Sports Complex and area teams will be on site to discuss fall registration requirements. The event is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times/Brandon Times, Kids ‘R’ Kids Valrico and Circa FishHawk, Canine Cabana, Tutoring Club of Valrico, Premier Designs-Melinda White and Osprey Observer Newspapers.

The Back to School Festival was hosted by the FishHawk Area Networking Group (FANG) for 11 years. FANG merged with the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber late 2013 and the chamber is pleased to continue the Back to School Fest event tradition.

The chamber represents more than 100 local business owners who meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. at the River Hills Country Club. Guests are always welcome. The Campo Y is located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. Valrico. For more information, visit www.valricofishhawk.org, call 657-2418 or e-mail editor@ospreyobserver.com.

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!