Go back to school in style with these educational and entertaining events across four counties. There’s something for the whole family, including free backpacks, face paint and food trucks. Welcome back, students!
Back-to-School Open House & Expo: Get all the info you need before school starts with this informative and entertaining event in Dunedin. There will be games for kids to enjoy, and the first 200 students will get a free backpack. Free. 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 28. MLK Jr. Recreation Center, 550 Laura Lane. (727) 738-2920.
Back-to-School Splash & Ecofest (Splash Park): Splash into the new school year with this exciting event from Tarpon Springs Recreation. There will be water slides, games and music, plus vendors will help kids learn how to be eco-friendly. Free. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. Splash Park, 508 Live Oak St. (727) 942-5628.
HOPEFEST 2022: New Life Covenant Tampa Bay will celebrate back-to-school season with a bunch of fun freebies: games, backpacks, school supplies, groceries and more. Free, but students need a ticket to receive giveaways. 4-7 p.m. Friday, July 22. Depot Park, 39110 South Ave. (813) 395-8529.
Back-to-School Smash: Put the pedal to the metal with this Brooksville back-to-school event. The bash boasts monster trucks, wrestling, a car show, live ‘80s music and more. Tickets are required, but kids 12 and under get in for free. 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. Lead Foot City, 17109 Old Ayers Road. (844) 532-3366.
6th Annual Back-to-School Bash: This Spring Hill event is sponsored by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and aims to give away 3,000 backpacks to students. There will also be free physicals, food, prizes and more. Free. 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Saturday, July 23. Crosspoint Church, 2440 Anderson Snow Road. (352) 754-6830.
Back-to-School Bash: Celebration Church in Tampa will hold a Back-to-School Bash complete with bounce houses, haircuts, games and raffles as well as free backpacks for the first 200 students. Free. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, July 30. Celebration Church, 16235 Lake Magdalene Blvd. (813) 961-0910.
Back-to-School Bash: The 2nd Annual Florida Penguin’s Back-to-School Bash at Tampa Premium Outlets will offer a scavenger hunt, performers, free backpacks, a business expo and more. This event also features a special area for neuro-diverse children to participate in the festivities. Free. 12-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7. Tampa Premium Outlets, 2300 Grand Cypress Drive. (727) 674-1464.
Back to School – Back to Nature: Before kiddos go back to the classroom, this Ruskin event invites them to immerse themselves in the outdoors. Students and their families can explore nature stations, get free school supplies and more. Free, but registration is required. 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Saturday, July 30. Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center, 4140 24th St. SE. (813) 641-8545.
BY ERIN FEITSMA
Times Total Media Correspondent