It’s back-to-school time! Scroll down to find details on the first day of school and the 2016 sales tax holiday as well as local events, health fairs and donation drives.
Student orientation: Thursday, August 11
First day of school for students: Monday, August 15
Tax-free holiday: August 5-7
Back to School Bash
When: Sunday, July 30, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Wilfred Smith Resource Center, 135 Avenue Y N.E., Winter Haven
What: Polk County Parks & Recreation’s Back to School Bash is a free family event. Families will get to enjoy free school supplies for children kindergarten through the fifth grade (first come, first served). Families will also enjoy music, educational exhibitors, and children activities. This event will help children start the school year off on the right foot.
Back to School 2016 Community Bash
When: Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center, 801 Ave. T NE, Winter Haven
What: The “Circle of Love Project” (comprised of local churches, businesses and the City) will provide back to school supplies for Winter Haven area children. Supplies and book bags geared towards grades K – 8, will be distributed to children in need with educational, financial and health vendors on site. Everything will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. An adult and child(ren) must be present to attain a ticket for the free book bag and school supplies. There will also be bounce houses, free food, music and swimming from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. for ages 5 – 17.
Contact: Tory Dewdney, 863-291-5675.
Life Church Backpack Outreach
When: Saturday, July 30, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: 581 Berkley Rd. Auburndale, FL 33823
What: Auburndale’s Life Church will hold a giving for over 700 free school backpacks filled with school supplies for needy families.
Contact: Dawn Simmons, 863-967-5433
First Friday Downtown Lakeland
When: Friday, August 5, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Lakeland
What: Free, family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art receptions, a car show, and the chance to check out a great, locally-owned restaurant or retail establishment. Augusts’ event theme is Back-to-School sponsored in part by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.
When: Saturday, August 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Simpson Park, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Lakeland
What: To introduce New Beginnings High School to the Lakeland community, the school is hosting Summer Palooza so that families and children will have the necessary resources to go back to school. New Beginnings’ Summer Palooza will provide necessities along with educational guest speakers, a warm meal, and entertainment throughout the day.
Back to School: Movie at the Pool
When: Saturday, August 13, 8:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Where: 1100 NE 1st St, Mulberry, FL 33860
What: Enjoy a showing of “Finding Nemo” while swimming in Mulberry’s own Community Pool. Admission is free, however guests must be residents of the City of Mulberry. Children under the age of 15 years must have a valid Pool ID.
Contact:City of Mulberry, 863-425-1125
Fifth Annual Community Back to School Family Fun Day
When: Saturday, August 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Westwood Park, 1151 36th Street NW, Winter Haven
What: This free event is aimed at preparing family in the community for the new school year by providing free health screenings, health information, child safety information and more. There will be a backpack giveaway with school supplies for school-age children. There will be also be fun activities and entertainment for kids including games and a petting zoo.
Contact: 863-875-7933 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rock the Block Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 20, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: The Lakeland Center: George Jenkins Arena
What: Bring the entire family to this free community event featuring giveaways, free backpacks, free haircuts, a health fair, hot dogs, cotton candy, bounce houses and more.
Contact: Harvest Assembly of God: 863-682-7000. The Lakeland Center: 863-834-8100
Just outside of Polk:
Whole Foods Market Florida Back to School Lunch Giveaway!
When: Sunday, August 7 & August 14, 12 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods Market
What: Whole Foods Market Back to School Lunch Giveaway- Get a complimentary lunch without any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives for your child (12 and under) for the first day of school.
Sunday, August 7: Tampa; Sunday, August 14: Orlando
Back to School Health Fair
When: July 29-August 6 (see dates & sites below)
Where: Central Florida Health Care: Throughout Polk County
What: A Central Florida Health Care back to school health clinic featuring CFHC school supplies and backpacks also.
Dates, Times & Sites:
- Friday, July 29, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Avon Park, 950 CR-17A W
- Saturday, July 30, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Lakeland, 1129 N Missouri Ave
- Saturday, August 6, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Winter Haven, 201 Magnolia Ave. SW
- Saturday, August 6, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Dundee, 1023 Dundee Rd
Back To School Health Fair
When: Saturday, August 6, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, 40100 US Highway 27, Davenport
What: Good health is the best back-to-school supply your child can have. So don’t miss our free Back-to-School Health Fair that combines health and safety education with fun for the whole family!
- Safety presentations by police and EMS
- Health presentations by local pediatricians and physicians
- Back-to-school screenings and discounts
- Fun Zone with free crafts, face painting and activities
- Free school supplies
- Teddy Bear Clinic
- Drawings for tickets to special events, while supplies last
Back- to-School Shots
Department of Health in Polk clinics
- Auburndale, 1805 Hobbs Road, 863-965-5400
- Haines City, 1700 Baker Ave. E., 863-421-3204
- Lake Wales, 835 W. Central Ave., 863-678-4144
- Lakeland, 3241 Lakeland Hills Blvd., 863-413-2620
– The Bartow clinic does not provide childhood immunizations.
– Appointments are recommended, although walk-ins are accepted.
– All but the Auburndale clinic are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. At Auburndale, the immunization clinic hours vary by day.
Gator Encounters & Donation Drive
When: Friday, July 29, 10 a.m. & 12 p.m.
Where: Mulberry Phosphate Museum
What: Mulberry Phosphate Museum will host two family-friendly close encounters with Florida’s wildlife and Tim Williams as a way to gain school supply donations. Reserve your place at mulberryphosphatemuseum.org. For admission, please bring two school supply items to donate.
Stuff the Bus
Stuff the Bus is Central Florida’s largest back-to-school campaign. In addition to the traditional school supplies that are needed such as pens, pencils, wide rule paper, folders with prongs, crayons, markers, backpacks, glue and erasers, you may also donate copy paper, facial tissue, index cards, highlighters, hand sanitizer, zip lock bags, and pencil boxes.
– Bartow: Through Friday, August 19
– Lakeland:Saturday, August 6, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at Walmart (US Hwy 98 N)
– Lakeland: Wednesday, August 10 at Hall Communications
– Winter Haven: Saturday, August 8, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Walmart (7450 Cypress Gardens Blvd.)