By Joel Hall
After 100 days of planning, and seeking community support, the Clayton County Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS) will host its Every Day is Father's Day Festival this weekend.
The celebration, meant to bring children closer to their fathers and father figures, will take place Saturday from 11 a.m., to 6 p.m., at Lee Street Park and the Eula Ponds Perry Learning Center in Jonesboro.
Clayton County DFACS Social Services Administrator Laurence Nelson, the event's organizer, said the free event will be open to children, as well as "fathers, uncles, brothers and mentors." Throughout the day, dads and their children will be able to enjoy a variety of team-building games and attend nutrition, legal and parenting workshops.
"We're going to have a 'Dad-O-Lympics' that will include sac races [and] relay races," Nelson said. "We will have live karaoke. We'll have a Wii Sports and Rock Band station. We'll have food, moon walks and music. We'll have a photo booth where fathers and kids will be able to take unlimited photos of themselves and get instant print-outs.
"It's looking good," he added. "We just need to get the people here now. It's open to all fathers in the community."
Nelson said DFACS is expecting 300 to 400 people to attend Saturday's festival.
The event started as a challenge from the state DFACS chief, Mark Washington, to do something great with $100 in 100 days.
Through the help of sponsorships and in-kind contributions, the event has grown into a full day of activities aimed at promoting male, parental engagement.
Nelson said the event will also include organized dodgeball and kickball games, popcorn, face painting, a talent show, and workshops to help foster children and their natural fathers develop stronger bonds.
"I'm overwhelmed at the response we have gotten from the community," Nelson said. "The response has been that something like this is really needed. I'm looking forward to having something like this [again] in the future."
According to Nelson, all fathers who attend the event will also get a free T-shirt. For more information, or to volunteer, call (770) 603-4679 or visit www.everydayisfathersday.net.