By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Two back-to-school bashes are in store for Edgecombe County children this weekend. Both are free and open to children in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The first party is set for Saturday from noon until 5 p.m. at the Clark Pool and M.A. Ray Center on Martin Luther King Drive in Tarboro.
“It’s a celebration of going back to school,” said Joyce Turner, executive director of Edgecombe County Cultural Arts Council. “We’re hoping the weather will hold up, because we’ve got outdoor activities as well as indoor.”
The back-to-school bash will serve as Edgecombe Arts’ “Second Saturday” event, which normally takes place at the Blount-Bridgers House.
The pool will be open for free during the back-to-school bash. A bounce house from Abrams, “make-and-take” art projects and face painting are part of Edgecombe Arts’ plan for the afternoon. Edgecombe Arts is partnering with the Tarboro Parks & Recreation Department for the back-to-school bash. Both Edgecombe Arts and Tarboro Parks & Recreation had separate back-to-school bashes last August.
“We just thought it made perfect sense to partner with them,” said Turner. “We hope we can make this a good partnering event.”
Warren Mitchell, Ray Center supervisor, said Tarboro Parks & Recreation had a good crowd at last year’s back-to-school bash.
“We’ll have carnival-type games for the kids. We’ll have some shootout games going on in the gym,” said Mitchell. “We’re giving away a lot of food and a whole lot of fun times at the pool.”
Mitchell will fire up the grill at about 1 p.m. and serve up hamburgers and hot dogs to the crowd. Children at the bash will have a chance to enter a raffle to win bags filled with school supplies and backpacks.
“One more big hoorah and everybody buckles down and gets ready for school,” Mitchell said.
The second back-to-school event is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Heritage Park on Mutual Boulevard in Princeville. The BOSS (Building One Strong Society) Program is sponsoring the party.
Marvin May, BOSS Program founder and president, said he wants to get the children away from their Playstations and video games and outdoors playing “old games,” like tug-of-war.
“We’re going to have kickball, we’re going to have tug-of-war and we’re going to try to have a balloon toss,” said Sgt. Carlos Williams, member of the BOSS Program. “We’ll have fire trucks out there, the Princeville Police Department will be there.”
All children who come to Sunday’s event will receive free school supplies. Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be served.
The BOSS Program is a combination of motorcycle clubs and social clubs working together to try to keep children from “going in the wrong direction,” said Williams.
“We’re trying to show them that they do have people out here who care about them and want to see them progress,” May said. He said he wants to help the kids realize their “true potential,” whatever profession they choose.
“We’re showing them, ‘Hey, you can do this, look what we’re doing.’ We’re all in different professions, from lawyers to truck drivers to nurses to teachers,” said Williams.
This is the first time the BOSS Program has done a back-to-school event in Edgecombe County.