The Sumter Police Department hosted its seventh-annual Back-to-School Bash to kick off the school year with a fun-filled morning on Tuesday at Crosswell Park.
"We partner with many different people across the community, with service industries …
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"We partner with many different people across the community, with service industries and nonprofit groups, and we do it in a neighborhood setting in the park," Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark III said. "It allows us to connect with the community, particularly the children."
Roark said the department likes to make sure children have all their school supplies and that they get to see the positive side of their local law enforcement.
"It's just to have a good time," said Tonyia McGirt, public information officer for the department. "The fun part is when Howie gets them to dance."
The event consisted of food, balloon artists, face painting, a water park, vendors and DJ Howie D, who is a detective sergeant with department and runs his own DJ entertainment business.
About 500 to 600 people attended the event and checked out different vendors in the park.
Some vendors included Prisma Health, Tandem Health, the Sumter Fire Department, the Sumter Family YMCA, Duke Energy, the USC Sumter Fire Ants and more.
Every vendor interacted with the kids by supplying them with school supplies, small gifts or a game.
The vendors also interacted with parents and shared back-to-school safety tips and helpful services in the area.
Safe Kids Sumter County was a vendor that measured kids with a large ruler to determine whether they needed a car seat or not.
Duke Energy attended the Back-to-School Bash for the first time and gave kids plastic construction hats and a chance to stand in a bucket truck.
The Sumter Fire Department gave kids the chance to sit in a fire truck.
Shelly Galloway, along with others from the Sumter School District such as new Superintendent Penelope Martin-Knox, ran the shaved ice station and made snow cones for the kids.
There was also a face painting station and balloon artists for the kids.
Near the end of the event, the Sumter Police Department provided boxed lunches for everyone who attended.
Everything at the event was free and a community effort for the kids of Sumter County schools to have a successful and fun school year.
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