Father’s Day in the park

Dads enjoy their day with kids, sunshine and playground equipment

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

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Vancouver’s Jon Flannery said his Father’s Day was fine, thank you, because he was spending time with his 4-year-old daughter, Lola.

“Can’t complain. It’s not raining,” Flannery, 31, said at the play equipment at downtown Vancouver’s Esther Short Park.

“He likes playing with me,” Lola said of her dad.

The Vancouver Farmers Market and park were alive on Sunday, with dads celebrating their day and marathon runners celebrating their accomplishments in Vancouver’s first marathon.

The four-piece rock band Cellar Door blasted out tunes from the band pavilion as dads watched wee ones at the playground.

Abraham Escobedo of Hazel Dell was content pushing a stroller with his daughter, Gabriella, 1½, taking it easy.

At 53, this is Escobedo’s second family. His three sons by his first marriage range from 19 to 28.

“It’s a little hard starting all over,” Escobedo said.

He said his wife, Cynthia, said she wanted a baby.

“I said ‘OK, as long as it’s a girl.’” Then, along came Gabriella.

“He’s a hard-working dad,” Cynthia said. “No vices except watching television.”

Later at the play equipment, Escobedo chased after Gabriella, laughed and said, “It’s just starting. I’m going to be running from now on.”

He said his day was happy with a visit to the market — he bought a bouquet of flowers for Cynthia — and playing with his daughter.

“I have two sisters who came up from Texas, Austin and outside of Corpus Christi,” he added.

Brendan Zaebst, 28, of Vancouver was grateful for his Father’s Day.

“I actually get to spend all day with my kids, and that’s a rarity. I work two jobs,” he said. He was there with son Chance, 5, and daughter Fallynne, 2. Wife Amy works at a food booth at the market.

“I like playing on the big slide with Dad,” Fallynne offered.

Zaebst called Sunday, “A very blessed day.”

Ricky Vogel, 23, of Portland, who was beaming, said, “It’s great. It’s my first Father’s Day.”

He is the husband to Hlee, 22, and father to Lily, 5 months. They work at the Hmong Farm in Corbett, Ore., with owner Chee Lee. Hmong Farm sells flowers at the market.

Ricky Vogel probably spoke for countless dads when he said of his family, “I love ’em to death.”

DAVE KERN: dave.kern@columbian.com or 360-735-4534.