By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thousands of families turned out for the Philadelphia school district’s Back-to-School event in Fairmount Park Friday.

Julian King was part of the entertainment, but he was also one of the thousands of students celebrating the start of school:

“I’m happy about it because I just miss a lot of my friends and learning some things.”

Superintendent Bill Hite says the event has exploded in popularity:

“We’re giving away 5,000 backpacks and pairs of shoes. We have free books and there are 140 partners who set up to provide information for families.”

It all seemed to be working, generating excitement about back to school.

“This is my first year of middle school,” this student says, “so I’m looking forward to clubs and stuff.”

Although, not for everyone…..

“I am not, uh-uh, cause you have to do learning and stuff. I wish we were smart when we were little and we didn’t have to go to school.”