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Festival aims to shine light on local fathers

Baltimore Ravens receiver, former Springfield standouts among those who will attend Fatherhood Fest.

In an area where four out of 10 fathers are deemed absent, Urban Light Ministries and the Be About It Movement are aiming to show appreciation to those fathers who are present in the lives of their families and children.

On Friday and Saturday, Urban Light and Be About It will host the Fatherhood Fest on the grounds of Springfield High School.

The festival will kick off Friday with a fundraiser dinner for $20. According to Eli Williams, executive director of Urban Light Ministries, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland and members of the Clark County Commission will be in attendance. Former Ohio State football player Dee Miller, a Springfield graduate, will speak. Friday night will conclude with the My Dad Rocks Essay contest winners being presented with recognition medals, while their fathers will be presented with trophies.

“We wanted to shine a light on the dads that are doing admirable jobs of being in the lives of their families and children,” said Williams.

Saturday’s events will start at 11 a.m. with the Family Fun Day. Activities will include a family kickball tournament, family flag football tournament, a scavenger hunt, a free hot dog lunch and resource tables. Other highlights include a DJ, dancing, bounce houses and information about services and classes offered by Urban Light Ministries and the Be About It Movement.

The day will end with a celebrity basketball game at 3:30 p.m. and an appearance by Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. The basketball game will feature former basketball standouts from the old North and South high schools.

“This will be a revival of the old North-South rivalry,” said Williams.

The basketball game will also be a fundraising event with tickets costing $7.

After the game, Smith will be on hand to sign autographs.

Vaughn Anthony of the Be About It Movement thought that bringing in Smith would not only excite the football fans in the community but also stir something inside someone’s father and motivate them to go to the event.

The majority of the festival is free and open to the public, with only the Friday night dinner and the Celebrity Basketball Game as ticketed events.

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