Spotlight on 2017 Back-to-School Bash at Putnam County Fairgrounds

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

Join WCTE Cindy Putman Ready To Learn Project Manager as she talks with Bob Sotis from Life Church about the upcoming Back-to-School Bash. WCTE has partnered with Life Church and Putnam County schools for the past three years to participate in the Back To School Bash. Sotis and Putman share some of their fond memories of long lines, hot days, happy teachers, excited students, and weary parents who attended last year’s event.

If you attended the 2016 Back-to-School Bash, you probably remember the long lines and sweltering heat. This year Sotis and his team at Life Church decided to change things up a bit to combat these elements. Life Church has already spent over $16,000 in supplies alone to distribute to k-8 children who live across the Upper Cumberland area. This year's event will be held at the Putnam County Fairgrounds on July 21st from 4 to 8 p.m.

Sotis said that to help with lines and people having to wait so long, his staff and volunteers are going to be handing out 2500 free tickets that families can exchange for free school supplies. These tickets will be given to each parent, grandparent. or caring adults in a child's life who is there to pick up school supplies for the children with them. Sotis recommends parents come at 4 but he also encourages them if they have to come later, during the hours leading up until 8 p.m., he truly believes that there will be plenty of supplies this year.

When you enter the fairground area from Walnut Avenue, there will be booth and volunteers who will give you your free tickets and stamp your hand. That's a precaution to make sure if a ticket is lost that the person is still accounted for.

Inside the grandstands, all the Putnam County Schools Elementary Schools will have booths. This is an excellent opportunity for the students to say hello to their teachers, principal, assistant principal, librarian, music teacher, PE teacher, or volunteers who work at their schools.

The individual schools will not be handing out supplies this year, but will just be there to welcome the students and their families back for the 2017-2018 school year.

When everyone has maneuvered through the grandstands they will come to a table that will collect their tickets and hand them their pre-packaged school supplies. Sotis thanks Denette Kolbe, assistant director of the Putnam County School System for being so supportive of this project. A  grand prize will be given to the school that has the best decorated booth.

WCTE’s Ready To Learn wants you to be sure to stop by our booth which is right next to the ticket table under the grandstand. There you can learn how to use PBS KIDS resources to build your brain. Cindy Putman along with Brenda Hewitt, director of Leaps and 21st Century for Putnam County schools and Barbara Greeson, Early Learning facilitator, will be there to share about the programs that they work with.

If you want more information about Leaps and the 21st Century before and after school program or the Ready for Kindergarten program and free parenting classes, make sure you stop by this booth.

Sotis also thanks all the volunteers who have worked so diligently to make this evening such a great success. A reminder that this program is for all students K through 8 living in the Upper Cumberland, so you do not have to be a Putnam County student to participate in the Back to School Bash.

Putman and Sotis saved the best for last. While all the families are getting the school supplies there's going to be free ice cream, drinks, and tasty snacks provided by the Putnam County Schools Food Services Department. And what’s more, beginning around 5:30 in the main arena there will be free Christian Wrestling. Check it out at

Lodi is sure to be a crowd favorite in the ring. This free wrestling event will offer clean family entertainment for everyone.

Freddy Duncan along with Tennessee Tech football players are responsible for getting all those supplies from the Walmart on Jefferson under the leadership of John Payne to the fairgrounds. Volunteers will pack each of the 2,500 bags to be distributed.

Families are urged to park on the Walnut Avenue side of the fairgrounds and go in that main exit and walk toward the food booths. Along with the free food and drink there will also be prizes awarded from various donors and a drawing for a limousine ride to school on the first day of school. It does take a community to make this event happen and if you are interested in partnering on this event by providing financially, door prizes, giveaways, or  food please contact Bob sodas at 526-6900. Volunteers are also welcome to contact Sotis.

Come to the Putnam County Fairgrounds and get free school supplies for students going into grades K - 8. We will also have all of the stars from the CWF Wresting organization live on the main stage at the Fair Grounds. Free event for the community!

**Want to help? Sign up at today!**


Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM. 


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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

  • Using Media as a learning tool
  • Using PBS kids apps to extend learning
  • How to be your child’s first teacher
  • Sesame Street Workshops
  • How does poverty effect a child’s brain
  • Literacy and Math
  • Brain Development

Workshops can be conducted in English and Spanish.