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If you go
What: Knights of Columbus’ Faith Family Fatherhood festival
When: 6 p.m. today to Sunday
Where: Headwaters Park, 330 S. Clinton St.
Admission: Free; $15 5K run/walk and volleyball team registration; go to for festival and registration information
Courtesy photo
The Faith Family Fatherhood festival will feature free events including all-ages activities.

Festival aims to strengthen family values

The Faith Family Fatherhood festival debuted last year with the goal of strengthening family values.

Sponsored by the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, the free festival will happen again this weekend with activities, speakers and family resources.

“The institution of family is key to a successful community,” festival coordinator Mark Michuda says. “It’s the institution between parents and siblings. We have to lift each other up.”

The three-day event begins with the celebration of faith today. There will be a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception before the Knights of Columbus lead a parade to Headwaters Park for the opening ceremony and performance by Florida singing artist Michael Russell O’Brien.

Saturday will celebrate family with all-ages activities, including music, games, rides, face painting, a 5K run/walk and volleyball tournament. Finally, Sunday’s events include speaker Father David Mary Ingo and activities that celebrate and strengthen fathers.

“The father’s vocation is to raise his family according to God’s command,” Michuda says. “We need God’s hand to help us as leaders of the family. We’re living in a society that’s pulling our children in every direction. I hope they leave with different tools that will help their families and help them grow closer to God.”

As the father of four adult children, Michuda says that he’s beginning to see the other side of fatherhood. As children mature, they are able to help spiritually support their parents, as well.

“The interesting change that I’m seeing is that the accountability goes both ways,” Michuda says. “Now that they are in their 20s and 30s, they hold me just as accountable as I hold them. It glues us together. We benefit from each other.”

With 1.6 million members, the Knights of the Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service that encourages members and their families to be in service to the Catholic Church and their community.

Michuda says the festival was born as a way to touch all of the organization’s mission points.

“Our mission is to support the youth, the family, the church and patriotism. The thought came up that we should put on a celebration that celebrates family and fatherhood, and now this year, we added in the patriotism.”

Saturday’s evening activities will honor military veterans with a performance from the Fort Wayne Police Department Pipe and Drum brigade and Honor Guard. The headlining musical act will be the Hunter Smith Band. Smith, front man of the band, is a former Indianapolis Colts football player.

With 4,000 in attendance last year, Michuda says the festival has gained plenty of momentum entering its second year.

He would like to see the positive influence draw in twice the amount of people to enjoy the festival this year.

“Last year, the title was one big tongue twister. It was like, ‘What are these guys up to?’ Now, every one is getting the concept,” he says.

“I think people wanted to see what would happen the first time, and nothing substitutes 12 months of word-of-mouth.”