By Sue Kiesewetter
FAIRFIELD - School leaders are counting on the lure of a parade and community party to bring children and their parents to the Village Green today to celebrate the start of school.
"We wanted to figure out something we could do to get the kids excited about school," said Valerie Isaac, an intermediate school teacher and planning committee member. School starts Wednesday.
So an eight-member group from Fairfield Intermediate School brainstormed and put together this community's first-ever back-to-school parade and celebration. Donations from local businesses ensured everything would be free.
It begins with an 11:30 a.m. parade that starts at West Elementary School and ends at the Village Green. More than 15 floats from school, community, civic and business groups will be in the parade, along with cheerleaders, a school bus, fire trucks, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, students, nurses and others.
When the parade reaches the Village Green around noon, a short program will begin. Twenty students representing all grade levels, home-schooled children and students from private schools, will be given keys to the city by Mayor Erick Cook. Superintendent Robert Farrell and administrators will also be given keys.
"We're trying to get the children to understand that there's more than Mom and Dad and teachers behind their education,'' said committee member Debra Pottenger. "We want them to know the whole community is behind them. We want them to see that kids and education equal success.''
After the ceremony, participants can mingle in the Village Green. There will be free food - including hot dogs, drinks and snow cones - puppets, balloons, face painting, a moon bounce inflatable activity, live music and a DJ.
Clowns will roam the area handing out suckers. Others will give out pencils and goodies.
Children can go through the fire department's smoke house or visit with the Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer.
The celebration will resume again at dusk with a showing of Jungle Book II in the amphitheater by the fire department.
If you go
What: Back to School Community Celebration at Village Green, Wessel Drive.
When: Noon to 3 p.m.; Jungle Book II at dusk.
Parade: Anyone interested in marching should meet at Fairfield West Elementary School, 4700 E. River Road, at 10:30 a.m. Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. Participants will take River Road to Nilles to Wessel to Village Green.
Roads closed: Commons Drive and Fairfield Circle in the Village Green area will be closed from noon to 3 p.m. for the celebration.
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