Grand Rapids school leaders are expecting a large turnout of district families and friends today for its annual back-to-school celebration at John Ball Park.

School begins Sept. 4th, and Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal decided to hold one big bash this year rather than multiple parties in different quadrants of the city. Five were held last year.

Somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people are expected to pour into the park for the free giveaways, entertainment, food and activities. There will be booths for parents to visit and receive information on school choices, special education services, after-school programs, English Language Learners services, early childhood education, athletics, food services, and other programs and services.

The event has three title sponsors.  The include the Kent County Prevention Coalition, which tracks substance abuse trends and works with youth and parents, Network 180, Kent County's public mental health and substance abuse resource agency, and J&H Oil.
In addition, Comcast, DTE Energy, Fifth Third Bank, Cedar Crest Dairy, and La Poderosa are supporting as well.
It's a free celebration, and is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. at John Ball Park, on West Fulton.

By-the-way, the John Ball Zoo is offering a Two-for-Tuesday deal as well, in which people can purchase one full-price admission to the zoo and get the second for free. Adult tickets are $8.50, children ages 3 to 13 pay $6.50 and children age 2 and younger get in free. That deal is valid from 5:30 to 8 p.m.