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Families win at ‘Back to School Blast’

9/1/2016, 6 a.m.
A line that nearly wrapped around the end of Nowell Park with families waiting for up to an hour to ...

A line that nearly wrapped around the end of Nowell Park with families waiting for up to an hour to get into The Back To School Blast event.

About 2500 families enjoyed a “Blast” at Nowell Park in Joliet for one last day of fun before school began. About 1500 backpacks with school supplies were given away at the 5th annual Back to School Blast, the yearly event that gives the community a last jolt of fun and gets the kids excited about the new school year. The Times Weekly and The Joliet Park District sponsor the ‘Blast’ each year, this year Crossroads Christian Church along with local banks and district representatives were co-sponsors.

“I thought it’d be good for the kids to come out and stretch their legs, get some school supplies and play some games,” one mother said. “I figured they could have a good last weekend before they went back to school.”

Along with school supplies that surprised to the kids in the backpacks, there were many other giveaways that put lots of smiles on not just the kids faces but parents too. Children learned martial art techniques, played bean bags, got their faces painted, got to ride pony’s, petted farm animals, participated in a basketball tournament played in bouncy houses until they couldn’t bounce anymore.

They were also treated to live entertainment including everything from a reptile expert with actual snakes and lizards to a 10 yr. old magician. Dozens of prizes were given away including sporting event tickets, coupons to Haunted Trails, sporting equipment, touchpads, bicycles and a lot more. The Joliet Park District provided food and drinks for those who got hungry and thirsty.

“We didn’t know that they had bouncy houses,” said Tanaya, a student who attends Laraway Elementary School in Joliet. “So we’re just really happy that we came here.”

Volunteers from the Crossroads Christian Church stuffed the backpacks with school supplies. “Just to see the kids light up when you give them backpacks with school supplies, and how grateful they are, I mean that’s it,” said Crystal Winterroth, of Crossroads Christian Church. “That’s enough.”

Volunteers from Triple Threat Mentoring served as emcees and provided the music. Next year 2017 ‘Blast’ will take place a week earlier, the first Saturday in August so mark you calendars!!!