More than 400 children, and one special guest from the North Pole, attended the fifth annual Moniteau County Back to School Fair Saturday at California High School.
The fair offered free medical screenings and school supplies to those who registered. It was open to all students educated in Moniteau County, regardless of income levels, and was sponsored by Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, the Moniteau County Health Center, and other county businesses and individuals.
"The best thing about the fair is it truly is a countywide event," said John Agliata, president of the board for the Moniteau County Alliance for Kids, which organizes the fair. "Kids attend the fair from every school in the county, so we're hopeful it helps break down those walls that sometimes exist between cities."
Santa Claus interrupted a beach vacation to attend the fair for a mid-year report on Moniteau County children. He sat on a beach chair amid beach balls and boogie boards and heard from countless children.
Santa was joined by jugglers, mascots, face painters, wildlife experts and K-9 officers to provide an entertainment backdrop for the fair's main purpose - to provide no-cost health screenings and a backpack of school- and grade-specific supplies to all children who registered.
"The mission of this fair since its inception has been to send as many Moniteau County children as possible back to school with the supplies they need to learn, and free from any undiagnosed health issues," said Alliance board member Andrea Kincaid, who coordinated the health-screenings portion of the fair. "I think we accomplished that mission this year."
Students received vision, hearing, dental, height, weight, blood pressure, immunization and scoliosis screenings.
The Alliance has already begun planning for the 2015 fair. For more information and an early registration form, visit Facebook.com/mointeauBTSFair.