LAMP Community Health Centre is set to host a free Father’s Day Family Festival next month to celebrate the positive influence dads play in their children’s lives.
The four-hour, outdoor event will take place outside LAMP, 185 Fifth St., on Saturday, June 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring fun for the whole family – including a rock climbing wall, bouncy castle, craft table, a classical car display, a performance by a magician and a barbecue lunch.
The whole point of this year’s Second Annual Father’s Day Family Festival, said organizer Brian Russell, is to celebrate families in the context of Father’s Day.
“Fathers bring a lot of unique things to their children – dads like to do a lot of activities that really energize their kids. So that kind of anticipation and expectation of playing with dad, especially for young kids, is something that really builds bonds,” he said. “Research is showing that when dads are engaged with their kids, that good things happen developmentally – it affects children’s identity and self-esteem. Children really need to have positive male influences in their lives. Most kids are looking for that and they deserve it.”
Putting dads’ fathering skills to the test, last year’s inaugural Father’s Day Family Festival featured a popular Dads Olympics, during which a dozen volunteer fathers stepped up to compete in seven different challenges – from installing a car seat, to hanging laundry, to riding a tricycle, to feeding baby food toa mock baby with a honey-dew head.
“It was one of the highlights of last year’s event,” Russell said of the Dads Olympics, noting that the competition will heat back up again at this year’s festival. “We made them do all that crazy stuff and it was all timed. Then there was a winner at the end. It was a lot of fun.”
The perk of hosting a laid back, outdoor festival open to everyone, he added, is that it provides an opportunity to spread the word about the integral role dads and father figures play in children’s lives.
“The festival is a great opportunity to do public awareness about the importance of fathers, because we’re out in public in front of the LAMP building,” Russell said, noting the feedback from last year’s event, which drew more than 200 people, was all positive. “People had a great time, and part of that was because it’s such a low-key event. Everyone can just come out and hang out with their families and other families and get some helpful literature around father involvement. It’s just a fun event.”
Admission to the Second Annual Father’s Day Family Festival is free, as are all of the kids’ activities. A nominal fee will be charged for the barbecue lunch.
Go to www.dadstoday.org for more details.