The fifth annual back-to-school bash took place on Sunday, Aug. 7, at the Columbus Club Association of New Braunfels. The event, hosted by Go Green Botanicals, raised money for the nonprofit Pink Warrior Advocates and gave back to the community while allowing children and parents to prepare for the upcoming school year.

The back-to-school bash included school supplies and 1,000 free backpacks as well as and free basic haircuts from local salons for children ages 5-12. A DJ filled the space with music while people who attended the event shopped the merchandise displayed by local vendors.

Maurice Salazar, co-owner of Go Green Botanicals and one of the organizers of the event, said the back-to-school bash is his business’ way of giving back to the community. Salazar said people started lining up outside the event venue before the doors opened.

“It’s just a fantastic event to get everybody to network together, and the outreach for every business owner to get this all together before the kids go back to school at the end of the summer—it’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal experience for us to be a part of,” Salazar said.

Free ice cream, face paint and photos with Disney princesses were also provided. Some of the local vendors included Old Soul Exchange, Clay & Noble Handcrafted Jewelry and Accessories, and Regan's Riches.

Mary Verock, co-owner of New Braunfels-based business We Be Jam’n, was one of the vendors at the event. The mother-and-daughter-in-law team sells their homemade jams and jellies at markets and events in the area. She said We Be Jam’n tries to attend the event and show their support every year.

“It really touches my heart, because I know that some people are more fortunate than others,” Verock said. “So, I feel like those of us that can come together and support people that need the help, I think that's a good thing to do. It's a good human thing to do. And so we appreciate it, and we really enjoy coming out here and doing it.”

In another display of the New Braunfels community coming together, prizes were raffled off to raise money for the nonprofit chosen this year, Pink Warrior Advocates. The prizes were all donated by local businesses and individuals, and included a $500 Southwest Airlines gift card, a $500 Ernesto’s Jewelry gift certificate, a 42-inch flatscreen TV and a spa day package.

New Braunfels resident Rachel Ates attended the back-to-school bash with her three elementary-age children and said it was great to see the community come together and work toward a good cause. When she got to the event, there was a line of people waiting at the door.

“I love the way it just came together. You got a lot of great strong leaders in our community who did this, and, you know, hats down to them,” Ates said. “They did a fantastic job.”