ELKHART — An annual back-to-school festival downtown not only kicked off the year with fun activities like bouncy houses and lip-sync battles but collected thousands of dollars worth of school supplies and struck a theme of unity before the two high schools merge next year.  

Ashley Boling Molyneaux, executive director of the Elkhart Education Foundation, estimated 5,000 people came to the foundation’s Kickoff Classic at Central Park based in part on the number of students in the bands and athletic teams. 

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