Events Heritage

Better Dads Festival

The Better Dads Festival will return to the Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park for its second year on Saturday, June 16, from 12:30–9:30 p.m. The free festival is an outgrowth of the ManKind Project (MKP), a nonprofit organization that supports a global network of peer-facilitated groups that help men lead lives of integrity, authenticity and service. “It is important for the younger generation to experience an honoring of fatherhood,” says Jeffrey Goldwasser, marketing and communications director for the Better Dads Festival. “Men are still not supported and encouraged to be sensitive, open, nurturing and willing to explore their inner landscapes with themselves or others. The Better Dads Festival supports and encourages men and fathers to do their work, find support and show up.”

The festival will feature a variety of playful opportunities, such as a “dress your dad” photo booth and music and drumming circles, as well as more introspective experiences like a letter writing station, a sharing circle and a panel discussion about cultural perspectives on fathering. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, who won a Grammy in the family hip-hop category, will kick off the festival with an energetic, kid-focused set. He is also scheduled to lead a rap workshop for kids.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, one of the festival’s 20 community partners, will be present to offer information on mentoring a child from a single family home and to lead an activity that invites participants to reflect on father figures in their life. “Our hope is that this activity will highlight the diversity of positive impacts mentoring can have while bringing people together to think about how they, too, could have a similar impact on a child’s life,” says Jordan Foltz, communications coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC. “To foster active and empowered fathering, it’s important to both celebrate the men that are making that commitment in their life already, while also offering an invitation and call to action for future fathers to embrace their role—and the Better Dads Festival is doing both of those things.”

Pack Square Park is located at 80 Park Plaza in downtown Asheville. For more information, visit

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