Hoover’s Father Fest celebrates dads

Families can celebrate Father’s Day by spending time together at Father Fest 2009, where they can eat a picnic lunch, listen to music, make cards for dad and bounce on inflatables.

Father Fest will take place on Saturday, June 20, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Veteran’s Park on Valleydale Road. Vineyard Family Services organized the celebration, which is the organization’s first major, community-wide event.

“We were looking for an event to honor dads and then for a way to get ourselves out there in the community,” said Ward Williams, the director of Vineyard Family Services.

The festivities include local vendors selling ice cream and snow cones, a small fishing clinic and a Humane Society animal clinic.

Williams said he expects anywhere from 500 to 800 attendees, including people attending Inverness Vineyard Church’s picnic at the event.

Everyone at Vineyard Family Services hopes to make Father Fest an annual event because it can appeal to the whole family and raise awareness about their Fatherhood Initiative Training program, he said.

Williams, a former pastor at Inverness Vineyard Church, started Vineyard Family Services in late summer 2007 as a separate entity from the church.

He said their “holistic helping programs” include foster care support, outreach to Department of Human Resources social workers and training fathers who owe child support through the F.I.T. program.

“We’re the primary agency doing this in Shelby County,” Williams said. “There was no one serving this population before, specifically the men.”

Anyone with questions about Vineyard Family Services or Father Fest or vendors wishing to purchase booth space at the event can contact Ward Williams at 533-7852 or by e-mail at Ward@VineyardFamilyServices.org.