Father, Son & Family Banquet

Date: March 24, 2018
Location: (Get Directions)
Lucy Addison Middle School
1220 5th St, NW
Roaonke, VA 24016

Contact: Gina Kohler
Phone: 540-344-9622
Email: gkohler@ymcavbr.org

Due to the inclement weather that our region is expecting this weekend, we have made the decision to reschedule the Father, Son & Family Banquet for the safety of our families, staff and volunteers. Please be on the lookout for the rescheduled date in the near future.

This is a FREE event for our community. Tickets are limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. To reserve tickets, contact the YMCA Express at Gainsboro at 540.344.9622.

Celebrate your family with an evening of dinner and fun for kids of all ages at our 86th Annual Father, Son & Family Banquet.

  • 3:00 - 5:00 pm
    • Activities in the gym to include face painting, crafts, and games

  • 5:00 - 5:45 pm 
    • Addison Step Team performance
    • Ramon and Damon Williams
    • A.L. Holland Heart of a Father Award

  • 6:00 - 7:00 pm
    • Dinner catered by Golden Corral
    • Family Awards




Event History

Now in its 86th year, The Father, Son & Family Banquet is the YMCA of Roanoke Valley’s longest, continuously running program. This annual event is not only a long-standing tradition celebrating families; it is also an event that showcases the YMCA’s role in Roanoke history.

The first Father-Son Banquet was initiated in 1932 by L.A. Lee, the first director of the William A. Hunton Branch YMCA. The Hunton Y was Roanoke’s YMCA for African Americans, and as such, the first banquets were attended only by black residents. Just 10 or so boys and a few fathers came to the first banquet, which was held upstairs in the dining room at the Dumas Hotel in Roanoke. It was noted that LA. Lee said a few morally instructive words.

The old Hunton YMCA played a large part in the lives of some young black Roanokers in the first half of the 20th century. “The Y was the only thing we had,” recalled longtime YMCA employee Louis Brown in a story about his retirement in 2003. “It kept us out of trouble, and it kept some of us alive.” Old news stories speak of pool and ping pong tables, and a library in the basement, which was the only library blacks in the city could check out books. The Hunton YMCA, later moved to Gainsboro Road and Patton Avenue. Both buildings are now gone.

Segregation at YMCAs was ended in 1964, and African Americans in Roanoke were able to use the Central YMCA downtown. The banquet, which began as a Hunton Y tradition, has evolved over the years—opening its doors to all races and welcoming mothers and daughters.

From its humble beginnings with just a dozen or so in attendance, the Father, Son & Family event is now attended by more than 300 people each year, including Roanoke City officials. The event has featured key note speakers, music and entertainment by local churches and youth groups. In 2012, the Y presented “The A.L. Holland Heart of a Father Award” to honor A.L. Holland, who had attended every banquet since the first in 1932, save for a few when he served in the Army in World War II. Each year the award is given to an outstanding role model in our community. In addition, Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Homes presents awards to the oldest father-son pair, the youngest son, the father accompanied by the most sons and a father-son look-alike contest. Similar awards are presented by James Bethel to mothers and daughters in