August 4, 2023

Family Fun Fitness and Film Festival nears in Windham

 By Kaysa Jalbert

As the end of the summer season approaches and a new school year nears, the Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival promises a free opportunity for families to gather and celebrate with friends in Windham.

The 4th Annual Family Fun Fitness and
Film Festival will be held at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 17 at Dundee Park in
Windham. The free event features
bounce houses, games, vendors,
food, music, helpful information,
and a movie for children.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 17 at Dundee Park in Windham and is a collaborative effort between the Be The Influence Coalition and the Windham and Raymond Parks and Recreation Departments as an avenue to reduce stress in the community.

This year the event will include sponsorship by Sabre Yachts, allowing them to expand spending for the event. The Sebago Lake Region of Commerce, one of the event’s in-kind sponsors, also has helped to solicit corporate sponsors to cover festival costs.

“Since this is a community event, any sponsor helps to bring attention to it and alert their members that it is an option for fun,” said Laura Morris, Project Director for the Be The Influence Coalition.

She said that the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber connects the festival to the business community and in return, the Chamber receives free sponsorship from BTI.

“It’s just lovely to have a Chamber of Commerce and a business community that stands behind what we do,” Morris says.

During and after the Covid-19 pandemic, Morris said the coalition noticed a huge increase in substance misuse and mental health issues. In response to that, this festival was created and is designed to help families, youth and community members to enjoy healthy ways to engage and to connect them with important resources.

“Be The Influence and both Parks and Rec Departments wanted to provide an outdoor, health outlet for the community that would encourage healthy ways to cope as well as provide resources for those that may need them,” said Morris.

New this year, the event will be featuring two can’t miss characters, the Ice Queen from Frozen, and Spiderman. In addition, there has been an increase in resources that will include three exciting Grand Prizes for an all-participant drawing, Basketball Toss Tournaments, bouncy houses, face painting and Zumba.

“We are encouraging more attendance through the giveaways, interactive events, the popular movie “Super Mario Brothers” and all taking place in a gorgeous spot,” says Morris.

This will be the Fourth time that the Family, Fun, Fitness and Film Festival will be staged by Be The Influence and the Windham Parks and Recreation Department. As always, admission to the event is free for residents, including families and children, with the intent being to provide resources for living a healthy lifestyle and for participants to connect, socialize and have fun.

The event takes place each year in August before the school year begins as the summer is too busy and it is the perfect time for families to connect before the youth get too over committed with school, said Morris.

Be The Influence began in March 2014 as a collaborative effort of Windham and Raymond community members who joined together to raise awareness and address concerns caused by substance abuse in local communities.

“My mission is to create healthy ways for youth and community members to live without resorting to alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and pills,” said Morris. “Together we created this event, secured sponsors, partnered with area resources and youth groups.”

The coalition currently has about 200 members from all over the community, including the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robin Mullins, who volunteers at the festival registration table during the event.

Morris says that Mullins is a very important part of this coalition and is a big supporter of the festival and BTI.

The festival vision is to provide support and resources to the youth and residents by promoting drug-free messages and reminding everyone that they live in a community that cares about them. <

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