With COVID-19 restrictions loosening and infection rates dropping, Fathers Eve 2021 — the pre-Father’s Day celebration of fatherhood — will once again feature in-person gatherings but also keep the livestream countdown it debuted last year in wake of the pandemic.
Fathers Eve, brainchild of Twin Cities Dads member John Francis, started in 2012. He invited several of his dad friends to his house to drink beers, shoot some pool and swap stories about fatherhood while offering each other support in their effort to become better parents. A charity component is often included in the festivities that assists a parenting or children’s cause. Children’s Miracle Network hospitals is a national recipient this year, but local charities sometimes benefit from those events. Over the years, scores of celebrations have been held annually in backyards, bars and restaurants across the United States. A few even took place internationally in places as far away as Costa Rica and London.
(DISCLOSURE: City Dads Group is a national sponsor for Fathers Eve 2021 as it has been for the past several years.)
After a banner year in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic start in March 2020 forced Francis to quickly pivot from in-person events to a livestream program. A roughly 40-minute live video feed of programming, hosted from his garage where the first event was held nine years ago, was broadcast for each of the four mainland U.S. time zones. Each culminated in a local 8 p.m. toast to the joys of being a dad.
“I’m NOT a tech guy, but we figured it out, got some help and it was fun,” Francis said in an email interview with City Dads Group. “We missed the larger group and seeing others online (but) we DID have 7,000+ views, so that’s a win!”
With the virus threat subsiding throughout most of the United States, Francis said he is expecting about 30 locations to host in-person events, though he is hoping the get the number as high as 100. Local City Dads chapters have been big supporters of Fathers Eve events in the past, and several have already committed to participating.
Buoyed by the success of last year’s livestream, Francis said he is keeping it to anchor the in-person events and also bring in others unable or hesitant to attend a gathering this year.
For the Fathers Eve 2021 livestream, to be broadcast via Facebook Live, Francis said he aims to add some more humorous components, such as clips from comedians, and some new speakers as well as highlighting sponsors and fatherhood causes. Sponsors this year include Sports Clips haircuts (national) and IHeartRadio and ACE Hardware (both local).