Annual celebration held Saturday in Milford

MILFORD – Souhegan Valley community members from different backgrounds let their guard down to connect with others and have a fun family oriented afternoon. Youth drug prevention through family activities and community engagement was emphasised Saturday at Keyes Memorial Field for Milford’s 12th Annual Family Fun Day.

“This event joins people together where the faith based and regular community are on the same team working for the same goals,” said Paul Sontag Pastor at Light of the World Christian Church.

These goals are to maintain the welfare of the city and to strengthen the health of the community.

Sontag is involved with the Annual MSBL 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament that was occurring alongside the other family

festivities. He said MSBL started as a celebration but was brought to Keyes Field as more organizations and churches joined in to put on the event. He said it’s mostly around the opiate problem with an emphasis on youth drug prevention.

“I believe this event networks people,” Sontag said. “We all speak the same language and all have similar initiatives so as we know more about each other when together like this we then bring each others own individual resources together.”

MSBL connects all different people touching on the opiate problem.

“We as churches provide resources in the community,” Sontag said.

There were many Churches present, providing resources at the event including

Bridge Community Church, Chestnut Hill Chapel, Christ Church of Amherst, Crossway Christian Church, Light of the World Christian Church, Our Gathering Place, River of Life Church and Village Bible Church of Amherst. Also, community groups including CAST, Safe Families, S.P.I.N. and Souhegan Valley Boys and Girls Club had representatives.

“We’re hoping to be a unifying factor in the community and bridge gaps,” Sontag said.

“Naturally we all come together and people love coming out to this,” helper from Light of the World Christian Church Trisha Dion said. She said Milford is a melting pot with people from all different backgrounds and education living in the community.

Dion was helping out beneath the information tent providing attendants with information and handing out free New Testament Bibles.

She said she loves volunteer groups but made it clear this is not a charity.

“We’re groups lending a helping hand,” Dion said.

“It’s good to meet people in the community and the messages hit home.”

Over the years this event has grown with more community members coming out and more churches and organizations getting involved.

Cari Porter brought her three boys out to Keyes Memorial Field and said this year is much better than last year.

“It’s set up much better and it’s flowing smoothly with the lines not being long for the activities,” Porter said.

With two bouncy houses for both younger and older kids she said it was nice that her boys of different ages can all do the same activity.

Aside from the bouncy houses there was also a dunk tank, live music, professional slippery slide, face painting and free food.

She said this was the third or fourth year she’s brought her family out to the event.

“It’s a great place to come with kids and meet new people within the community,” Porter said.

“It’s important because the kids are a part of that.”

Chris George also attended the event with his family. While sitting down observing the dunk tank with his son Aiden he said they were both having a lot of fun. “We moved to Milford last November and this is our first time here,” George said. Since then his family has gone out and done different family things.

“I like this event because you can say hi to people,” George said – joking that it wasn’t always like that growing up in Boston.

Martine Van Velzen, her husband and son are also first timers to this event.

She said this is a great family event.

Volunteers helping out wore bright yellow shirts to let others know they were a resource to come to with any questions. She said it’s nice knowing all those people are there to help.

“It’s nice knowing support is there,” Van Velzen said.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1246 or