The sixth annual FatherFest Celebration will be held from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturday, June 18 on the grounds of the Gammon House, 620 Piqua Place in Springfield. FatherFest will combine with the Juneteenth Celebration at this year’s event. This collaboration brings together two major events in Springfield.
“The Gammon House, Inc. and the Springfield (OH) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated have formed a partnership and are collaborating with other educational, service and church organizations to strengthen the effectiveness of our individual programs in the community,” said Gail Stone Grant, chairperson of the Juneteenth Celebration. “Clark State Community College and the Fatherhood Institute have been an invaluable addition to our efforts. There is strength in numbers.”
The Fatherhood Institute, operated by Urban Light Ministries, opened its door on Clark State’s campus in March of this year. Corey Holliday, director of community outreach for Clark State and chairman of this year’s FatherFest Celebration, said Clark State is a proud sponsor and partner in this collaborative event. “These were two major events pretty much at the same time and blocks away from each other,” said Holliday. “This year the two teams wanted to join forces and combine the events into one and have the event at the Gammon House. By combining the events, we can now offer Springfield all of the resources under one umbrella.”
FatherFest is the community’s annual celebration of fatherhood. It was started by The Fatherhood Commission of Clark County in 2011. The mission of FCC is to promote healthy fathering for the well-being of children and families. The event site will encompass the area from South Center Street at West Pleasant Street southward for two blocks and will include the grounds of the Gammon House.
FatherFest is sponsored by Fatherhood Clark County and is a free event for all Clark County families to celebrate fatherhood. There will be activities for people of all ages including food, games, bounce houses and music. The festival will feature information booths highlighting the resources available for families in Springfield, with a focus on education, employment and health care. Additional highlights include tours of the Gammon House, an Interpretive Center to articulate the past and present contributions of Springfield’s Black heritage, a local Black History display by the Heritage Center, a trackless train and historical period games with prizes.
“There will be amusement rides provided by The Church of Jesus Family Worship Center. Mt. Zion Baptist Church will have a health fair and a Gospel Music Extravaganza,” said Pastor Eli Williams, president of Urban Light Ministries. “This spirit of community and cooperation is inspiring.” There will also be an author's tent for local writers where Williams will be signing copies of his book: Father Love.
Grant said comparing Juneteenth Celebration at the Gammon House to “then and now” is a full circle scenario. “Then, in the mid-1800s, the Gammon House was a safe haven for the runaway slave. The house was built by George Gammon and still stands today as a legacy to the strength and commitment a man had for his family and fellow man,” she said. “The Gammon family assisted African Americans on their journey from bondage to freedom on the Underground Railroad.”
Now, said Grant, the Gammon House continues its legacy by welcoming the public, schools and community groups to its doors and provide people with some of the greatest resources our community has to offer. “The FatherFest gives special importance to the father figure and how he has always been the strength of his family, then and now,” she said. “The Juneteenth Celebration is a great time to honor our fathers on this Father’s Day Weekend.”