MARION, Ill. – The annual school backpack event at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson is much more than just a few sacks of supplies. It’s a full day of fun and preparation that includes haircuts, dental exams and more.
Like last year, over the weekend the dealership gave away 1,500 backpacks crammed with school goodies – the fifth time the dealer has hosted the giveaway.
"Last year, we gave away 1,500 backpacks, but we were close to 3,000 people coming through for the event," customer experience manager Nancy Skovgaard Skovgaard told the Daily Republican News.
There were bounce houses, haircuts, dental cleanings and checkups, food, games, and giveaways, making the event one that whole families came out to enjoy. The event was co-sponsored by Illinois Bright Start, Rent One, Simple Solutions, and Northstar Lottery Group.
An hour after opening the doors for the event to start, the line of families with children of all ages waiting to get inside stretched around the building and back to Black Diamond Drive, the street that runs behind the business. Once inside, families got backpacks and services by Marion salon Hot Heads and Dental Safari. The Williamson County Sheriff Auxiliary Department also provided fingerprinting and identification cards, and Target employees gave out free water and hosted activities with kids while they waited.
Skovgaard said the call for donations from the community was a big success as community support for the giveaway has always been outstanding. Donations of school supplies were collected at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson and Rent One Park up until the day before the event.