TAMPA — The Glazer Children’s Museum held one last summer bash this weekend before school starts.
Thousands of families were at the downtown museum Saturday for the annual Back to School Fair. While children tumbled around the different play areas, parents perused booths for any information they needed before classes are back in session later this month.
Pediatricians, performing art programs and children advocacy groups were among the exhibitors handing out pamphlets to parents and goodies to kids.
“Parents get what they need; kids get to have a great time,” said Angela Ardolino, publisher of the Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, which produced the event.
Ardolino put the fair together seven years ago after moving to Tampa from Miami. Every other city has a big back-to-school fair, she said, and Tampa needed one.
“What is has become is a really fun way for parents to bring their kids and get them excited to go back to school,” she said.
A line to enter the museum wrapped around the building by 8 a.m., one hour before the day-long event began, staff members said. The first 200 children through the door received a free backpack full of school supplies and other items.
Maves Ranola didn’t know about the Back to School Fair when she brought her two sons to the museum for the afternoon, but she was glad she was there for it, she said.
Her boys, ages 3 and 8, wanted to get out of the house one last time before school begins again.
“It’s back to real life this week,” she said.
Karina Stong and her daughter, Leah Johnson, came to the museum with a specific goal.
Her daughter is going into ninth-grade this year, Stong said, and is leaving her former school and its dance program. They went to the fair to find out more about local dance studios.
Luckily, they also found out more about Florida Virtual School and Florida Virtual Academies, an online charter school, Stong said. It’s useful information to have because her daughter will be home-schooled now.
“It was a great opportunity to come and check out the resources,” Stong said.