Sierra Vista Mall and hip-hop radio station Q97.1 collaborated once again for the third annual Back to School Bash. With more than 2,000 backpacks given to kids in the community, friends and families from all over the Central Valley gathered to prepare for back to school.
“Events like this are so very few and far between that any time you can get a couple thousands of people at the same place and same time, it’s going to be something special,” said DJ Danny Salas from Q97.1.
With this year’s event doubling in size, kids had more exhibits available to enjoy than previous year. In addition to the the backpack giveaway, there was a cash cube for shoppers (purchases of $150 or more), free face painting, reptiles, a voltage display presented by PG&E as well as life size superhero characters by Mega Legends.
Fresno resident and first-time guest Mayra Cruz, 20, picked up two backpacks for her two younger siblings and caught the first portion of the event where they enjoyed the popcorn and face painting, while her younger brother opted for holding a tarantula.
“The lines were long, but they moved quickly,” Cruz said. “Sometimes it’s hard for families to come up with backpacks and materials for school. I am thankful that the community held this event as a way of helping those families in need.”
The free event also included a special guest appearance from actor Kevin Quinn, who plays “Xander” in Disney’s comedy series “Bunk’d.” Quinn greeted guests and signed autographs for fans.
“He was a perfect fit for school-aged kids to relate to, not to mention he is a cute and can sing!,” said Natalie Khan, Sierra Vista Mall’s Marketing Director.
Khan said it brought a smile to her face seeing the kids excited about the backpacks and school supplies, as well as them getting to meet Quinn.
“We truly enjoyed having the community out at the third annual Back to School Bash,” Khan said. “We feel very fortunate that Sierra Vista Mall is the mall of choice for all these families to come and enjoy these events.”
Backpacks and supplies were donated or funded by the Clovis Police Department, Sierra Vista Mall, Sonitrol Security, Les Schwab Tires, Sears, AT&T, Panera Bread, and Wathen Castanos Homes. Supplies included paper, notebooks, pencils, pens, folders and erasers.