- Front Porch
MERIDEN — A line of students and their families stretched around City Park Tuesday, winding from Bunker Avenue to Warren Street, and down Park Avenue, waiting to receive a free backpack and supplies during the 11th annual Back to School Expo.
“We were waiting for a long time,” said 8-year-old Sinahy Trujillo. By noon though, with backpack in hand she said, “It was worth it.”
Vendors and residents filled City Park during the three-hour event. This marked the first year for the expo at City Park. It was previously held at the Hub site downtown.
“With the Hub under construction though, we obviously couldn’t have it there,” organizer Ryan Gilhuly said. “It’s so much better here though, with all the shade we’re getting.”
Gilhuly is a member of Meriden Firefighters Union Local 1148, which took over running the Back to School Expo last year.
“It’s really rewarding seeing all these people here, and we really couldn’t do it without all the help we get from the community,” Gilhuly said.
The firefighters union collected and stuffed 1,500 backpacks to hand out Tuesday, a number firefighter Brendan Noonan hoped would be enough.
Eyeing the line with an hour left in the expo, Noonan said, “it looks like we’re going to be close,” adding that last year, there were about 30 fewer backpacks than students in line.
“If anything, I hope we have a couple left over, because that would mean everyone who wanted one, got one,” he said.
The backpacks, color-coded by their intended school grade level, were stuffed with items such as books, binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, and crayons, Noonan said.
“It’s all my favorite,” said Rayrey Maldonado, 10. “We come every year.”
Families began the event by receiving a Back to School Expo passport, which they had to get stamped at five different booths run by city and civic organizations before they were eligible to pick up a backpack.
email@example.com (203) 317-2279 Twitter: @MollCal
Principal of Meriden’s Platt High School on leave after DUI …
MERIDEN — Platt High School Principal Robert Montemurro is on sick leave after being charged Monday with driving under the influence following an accident on … more ...
After challenging holiday, Sears to speed up store closings …
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) — Sears keeps pruning its business in a years-long makeover, a bid to transform itself from a 123-year-old retail store into … more ...
Meriden officers suspended over conduct police chief calls ‘disgraceful’ …
MERIDEN — Two city police officers have been suspended following a September incident in which they were found to have engaged in “disgraceful” and “unacceptable” … more ...
PD: Meriden man found with machete in Wallingford …
WALLINGFORD — A Meriden man faces charges after police say he was found with a nearly two-foot-long machete in his car. Carlos A. Rivera, 28, … more ...
Pregnant woman taken to hospital after crash with Wallingford police …
WALLINGFORD — A pregnant woman was taken to the hospital following an accident on Route 68 Monday morning involving a police cruiser. A red station … more ...