Father’s Day should be about fun, right?
In 2014, Steve Moore entered the world of fatherhood. With the birth of a beautiful baby girl, Alyssa, his enthusiasm was piqued. He wanted to be a good dad, an involved dad, and partake in activities that gave them that permanent father-daughter bond.
“I was a very active dad and very involved,” recalls Brown. “I was taking her all over the place to all the events and everything that was around that the city offered. It took about two years, but I noticed that there weren’t a lot of things that catered to dads.”
Looking for something fun to do on Father’s Day, Brown soon discovered that his options seemed to be brunch or nothing. That’s when he came up with the idea to create a Father’s Day event. He soon recruited his good friend, new father, and partner, Seth “Hootie” Perera, and the pair launch their organization, Fantastic Fathers, and hosted their first event – Family Father’s Day.
The duo booked Windsor’s Unifor Local 195 hall on Central Ave. set up a fun day of activity. They hoped that they’d get 500 people to show up. Lo and behold, the word spread like wildfire and about 2,000 people arrived at their doors.
“We were shocked, we were ecstatic, but we were also kind of panicking a bit because we had to go and buy more supplies from stores three or four times throughout the day,” chuckles Brown. “It was a very successful event, but what it did was open our eyes and make us see that there’s a community need for events for [not just fathers, but families.]”
Essentially, Fantastic Fathers started as a Facebook page, a place for Brown and Perera to network with other fathers to plan group get-togethers and day trips. However, it has become a movement.
The following year, in response to the public interest and enthusiasm, Fantastic Fathers booked three of the pads at the WFCU Centre, conducted a very successful search for sponsors, and filled all three rinks with attractions for the whole family. In the end, around 4,000 people took part in the festivities.
“We’re not a single dads thing, we’re not a dads-only thing, it’s a parent thing and our top goal is for parents to spend as much time with their kids as possible,” explains Brown. “We create events or piggyback on other events to provide more opportunities for parents to spend that quality time with their kids—strengthening that parent-child bond.”
Today, Fantastic Fathers is a fully registered non-profit organization which aims to specifically tailor family-bond building events for parents and their kids, to provide educational opportunities for parents to increase their knowledge and parental abilities and promote fully-involved parenting with an emphasis on father participation.
On Saturday, June 17, from 11am-5pm, Fantastic Fathers will be hosting their fifth annual Family Father’s Day, presented by LiUNA!625. The event will take place at the state-of-the-art St. Clair College Sportsplex and will feature RedLine Inflatables, a Border City Wrestling show, aerialists and gymnastics performers, Funky Faces face painting, Windsor’s Darkside Star Wars Cosplay, Magician Ron Gudel, members of the Windsor Spitfires, Windsor Costume Kings, and so much more.
“I think this is going to be the biggest one, not only because it’s our fifth annual event, but I think it’s because we haven’t really done it for two years, because of COVID,” says Perera. “Every one of our other events that we’ve done, since back from COVID, has almost doubled in numbers from the last time that we did it. So, I really think that there’s a need … I think people are just hungry to do stuff, because we didn’t for a year and a half or two years.”
Outside of their Father’s Day event, Fantastic Fathers also put on a series of smaller events in 2022, like their Easter Egg-stravaganza, a family riverboat cruise, bowling, Halloween carving, also their “With Dad” events, which featured a salon day, craft making, and learning how to cook.
“We feel that engaging with your kids builds better communities, rather than not,” state Perera. “There’s enough tablets, video games, and iPhones that the kids play with on their own. We feel it’s important that events like these, and other events we do, help you be one-on-one and lets you be with your kids.”
As a non-for-profit, Fantastic Fathers also engages with various philanthropic efforts. They have set up a scholarship fund with St. Clair College and donated to their new stadium, are now an official sponsor of Adopt-A-Vet and are a part of their holiday campaign and are partners with Harmony in Action. They also actively participate in a variety of fundraisers, including Jeff Burrow’s 24-Hour Drumathon, LiUNA!625’s Champions for Hunger, The S’Aints Holiday Sleighing Hunger Drive, the W.E. Care for Kids Golf Tournament, the Heart & Stroke Golf Tournament, the Hospice Face-to-Face Campaign, Champions for Change, Sparky’s Toy Drive, and Noah’s House.
Brown adds that all these great events and the donations wouldn’t be possible without the help of their generous sponsors.
“We have some of the best sponsors out there,” says Brown. “Year after year, we’ve had almost 100 per cent retention of our sponsors, which I think is amazing. I think it speaks volumes to their commitment to the community—but it also shows their belief and trust in us—which we love and are so humbled by. From day one, LiUNA!625 has been the title sponsor for everything we do. We also have the Cooperators Insurance Group, St. Clair Alumni Association, Quinn Roofing, and M&M Food Market. These are people that have literally stuck by us from day one and their support doesn’t waver—and we’ve just continued to add great sponsors over the years.”
For more information on Fantastic Fathers and their special events, please visit their Facebook page.