READY FEST Schools, businesses prepare kids

Festival coordinator says the kids got everything they needed to return to school.
HUBBARD -- Roosevelt Elementary School took on the atmosphere of a three-ring circus Thursday as parents and grandparents got kids ready for school.
"It's a huge effort, but it's a great effort," said Jennifer Gasser, who coordinated Ready Fest 2004.
About 600 children entering kindergarten through the fourth grade walked around in awe as live entertainment and other activity filled the gymnasium.
The festival is held every two years and is designed to get the 900-plus elementary pupils in Roosevelt and St. Patrick's Elementary School and the home-schooled prepared for classes.
Those pupils who couldn't make it to the festival will receive their bags of school supplies when they show up for classes.
What was there
But those who entered the school Thursday were able to get free haircuts, dental screenings and eye exams.
All the area hospitals were represented, as well as many social-service agencies, physical therapists, scouts and a substance-abuse facility.
There were music and drawings, including one for a bicycle, and a safety awareness program by police, firefighters and paramedics. The children were fingerprinted for identification. There even were discount coupons for back-to-school clothes.
"We feel it's everything the kids need to go back the school," Gasser said.
It also brings the parents, businesses and services into the schools, she added.
"It's extremely helpful," said Chance Dobay, who was taking his two children around.
Dobay explained that parents received a list of what their children need for school, which they could cross off as they went to the various tables to get the supplies.
Doting on the idea
"It's a plus for them," Dobay said of his children, noting it provided an opportunity for them to meet their classmates and teachers.
Even the local churches handed out crayons, pens and pencils.
Therese Wells took her son Rodney, who is entering the second grade, around to take advantage of the festival.
"I can get most supplies here," Wells said.
In one of the classrooms, Lindsey Coppage of Diane's Cut Away in Hubbard was giving away haircuts.
"We decided to help out the kids before they go back to school," Coppage said. It took her about a half an hour to trim a head.
Beside her chair, others were filled with girls getting a trim.
"I think its a great thing," said Linda Sharp of Weathersfield, who was taking her grandson Tyler around.
"He got everything he needs to start school," said Sharp, the grandmother of five.

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