Jacksonville ISD will host a back to school fair on August 3, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the John Alexander Gym.

The Back 2 School event, hosted for several years now, is meant to supply kids with the tools and information needed to have a successful school year.

Backpacks with school supplies have been prepared for JISD students, and parents and children can also expect to learn about health and after school activities. Everybody is welcome to attend, but the backpacks and school supplies will only be available to students who have completed required JISD online registration and who are present at the fair.

The Cherokee County Public Health Department also will be present at the fair.

Public Health has participated in Back 2 School for the past five years, according to Executive Director Chris Taylor. The department plans to distribute information on the importance of dieting and exercise, but will also be putting an emphasis on vaccinations, too.

“One of the problems we have is that parents often wait until the last minute to vaccinate (their kids),” Taylor said. “We want to encourage people to take advantage of the clinics early. It cuts down on wait times and increases the likelihood of the right vaccinations being available.”

While the department will not be giving out vaccines at the fair itself, they will be giving out lots of information. They are also located very close to where the fair will be held, at 803 College Avenue, on the former Lon Morris College campus.

The department also plans to host several vaccination events throughout the school year. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m.

Another participant in the annual fair is The Clothes Closet & More. According to Mickey Gear, Clothes Closet executive director, they have participated in the back to school fair for 10 years. They will be passing out shoes and school uniforms during the event.

There is no pre-registration for these items, Gear said, and the children will get to pick out their own outfits.

They must be accompanied by their parents, however, and they will have to fill out a short form at the event.

Even if a child is not able to attend the fair, they still haven't missed their chance.

“We always take leftover clothes back to the office with us for kids who miss the fair,” Gear said, “but we won't be distributing them again until Aug. 12.”

Clothes Closet & More is located at 314 S. Main Street. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m, Wednesday through Saturday. Call (903) 586-0204 for more information.

The fair is traditionally held several weeks before the start of the school year in Cherokee County.

This year, the first day of school has been listed for local independent school districts in Cherokee County, including:

Jacksonville ISD, Aug. 28;

Alto ISD, Aug. 28;

Bullard ISD, Aug. 23;

New Summerfield ISD, Aug. 21;

Rusk ISD, Aug. 21;

Troup ISD, Aug. 21; and

Wells ISD, Aug. 21.

Other first days of school that may be of interest to readers include:

Brook Hill, Aug. 16;

Jacksonville College, Aug. 16; and

BMA Theological Seminary, Aug. 28.

Correction: The Back 2 School Fair is actually put together by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, not the school district. The two organizations do work closely together, however. We apologize for the error.

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