Monday, August 10, 2009

23,000 turn out for Nashville mayor's back-to-school freebies

By Jennifer Brooks • THE TENNESSEAN • August 10, 2009 Clutching his brand-new backpack, 5-year-old Aidan Adkins approached the mayor of Nashville. "Why did you give us these backpacks?" he wanted to know. The answer, of course, was that Sunday was the 10th annual Mayor's First Day Festival, and every child who came through the doors at Sommet Center came out staggering under the weight of brand-new backpacks loaded with school supplies and other freebies donated by area businesses, charities and Metro agencies. "It's a way to start the school year off right," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, standing in the middle of an exhibit hall crowded with booths and families. Private donations covered the cost of backpacks for every child who attended, as well as the cost of the festival. This year's event included a game area with inflatables, a Guitar Hero tournament and live musical entertainment. Some 23,000 people attended the festival this year — the largest crowd yet, according to organizers.

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