Area children and adults alike enjoyed a festive afternoon Sept. 13 at Hamilton Central School as the Hamilton Area Community Coalition sponsored a gala Back 2 School Bash - offering not only a couple hours of family fun time but also a positive message for the students.
“The whole purpose of this event is to show our support for the kids,” HACC program coordinator Melissa Cassulis said. “We want to make sure they know they live in a safe community where they can feel supported and can reach their full potential.”
“I think it’s great for the kids and great for the families,” complimented High School Principal Bill Dowsland. “It’s a great way to start the year, and I thank the Coalition and all of the community members who made this possible.”
It was the first time for the event, and, with the positive turnout likely not the last. This inaugural Back 2 School Bash brought out hundreds of children and their families to enjoy the festivities, including free tacos, cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn and water plus bounce houses, an inflatable joist ring, a petting zoo, a rocking deejay, volleyball, and a visit from the new school mascot the Emerald Knight.
Taking part in the event were the Hamilton Police Department, the HCS PTO, the Hamilton Public Library, Colgate University’s Campus Safety, Heritage Farm, the Lions Clubs of Morrisville and Hamilton, the Hamilton Rotary Club, 8 Fresh, DJ Mikey, Airtime Inflatables, This Is Hamilton and various community volunteers.
Library Director Travis Olivera gave out free books and lollipops, held a voting competition for Legos versus Minecraft and invited area youngsters to come for a visit. He said he was impressed by the turnout at the event, which exceeded his expectations and prompted him to plan on increasing the library’s offerings the next time.
Cassulis gave credit for the inspiration behind the event to Hamilton Police Department Sgt. Matt Janczuk, who worked the entire nearly two hours of the bash serving cotton candy, often with police Chief Shawn Stassi. Janczuk said in June they promoted a “finish the school year strong” theme, and he wanted to pick up the positive message from there.
“We want to make the kids excited about coming back to school,” Janczuk said during a rare break in serving his colored cotton candy treats. “This gives us all the chance to give them a fun time and remind them we are here for them. We want them to all have a safe and healthy school year.”