Asheville’s First Better Dads Festival

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Asheville’s First Better Dads Festival

Free Family Celebration In Pack Square Park June 17

A first-of-its kind festival celebrates local fathers and families. The Better Dads Festival is a free event from noon to 9:30 pm Saturday, June 17 – Father’s Day weekend – filling the entirety of downtown Asheville’s Pack Square Park with activities.

lyricThe green will be filled with lawn games, storytelling, crafts, even a dress-your-dad photo booth to provide opportunities to play together. The park stage will feature acclaimed local artists LYRIC (who performs with her father), David LaMotte, and the Billy Jonas Band. Asheville storyteller Connie Regan-Blake will spin her magical yarns.

The Veterans Memorial area will be home to sharing circles, for those seeking deeper connection and inspiration.

“The festival brings together diverse members and organizations in our greater community to connect, share, explore and celebrate around issues related to how men show up in the world,” explains Alan Kay of Hendersonville, the man with the vision for the Better Dads Festival. “It’s about how men show up in their relationships, their families and their community.”

While the event offers families a free day of activities together, Alan says it’s also an opportunity to make great dads even better.

“I’ve been in men’s groups and circles for 45 years, most recently with the ManKind Project. In our weekly circles, we do great personal transformative growth work, learning about our shadows, about how we make choices and the impact of those choices on others and on ourselves. We have a saying about ‘changing the world one man at a time’ but I believe we can do more toward making the world a better place. That was the spark that inspired the Better Dads Festival.”

While there will be opportunities to feed your soul, Alan hasn’t forgotten about the tummy. There will be great Asheville eats not always found at local festivals, from Corner Kitchen, Gan Shan Station, and Flat Rock Village Bakery. Enjoy treats from the Hop Ice Cream Cafe, Mac Daddy’s Lemonade, and Frozen Monkey Natural Shaved Ice. For dads and moms and other guests at least 21, Highland Brewing will introduce its Better Dads Fest Golden Lager created just for the event.

better dads logoconnections. There’s a booth for people to have a conversation with the dad or child they’ve always wanted to have, a station to write a note to an estranged parent or child, along with facilitated open sharing circles.

“It’s our collective responsibility to mentor and create a nurturing environment so that all children can grow up in an equitable community. How men show up in the world begins with what our children learn in their families, from the media, in their schools, and from their peers,” says Alan. “Women and men share equally in determining how we communicate, maintain relationships, respect one another, and welcome diversity. While the festival focuses on nurturing better dads, we know that we all have a part to play. We’re delighted by the support of various women’s organizations that have agreed to participate in this event. We all have much to share. We all have much to learn.”

The Better Dads Festival is an outgrowth of work done by men involved with the ManKind Project. The project is a nonprofit training and education organization with three decades of success hosting life-changing experiential personal development programs for men. It supports a global network of peer-facilitated men’s groups and supports men in leading lives of integrity, authenticity, and service. There are currently more than 700 active circles of men supported by the ManKind Project throughout the country.

You can find out more about the Better Dads Festival here, and follow the event on Facebook for instant festival updates.

Ken Ulmer

Former TV weatherguy who never got it right, til the day I predicted mostly cloudy skies with a 100% chance of unemployment. I've survived stints as a morning radio host, stay-at-home dad, and lab assistant. All left me with with varying degrees of side-effects, which somehow combined to make me a good fit to be the editor/video producer of

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