Hope Fest is about more than giving Victoria teens a good time.
Although the free outdoor Victoria event will offer a day of live music, games, food, raffling, sports, dancing and more, it also aims to communicate a simple but important message to Victoria youths.
“It’s trying to say ‘You matter, you are valued, and we love you,’” said organizer Jodi Sandoval, who serves as president and director for Teens Grounded, a Victoria nonprofit that is hosting the event.
From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, middle school and junior high students are invited to enjoy a day of fun at Riverside Park free of charge. This year’s event marks the third Hope Fest in Victoria.
Live music will be provided by Nation of Believers, A-Ron, I Am Driven, Young Disciples, Joshua Simmons, This is Rill and more.
Victoria Crime Prevention Officer John Turner said he and at least four other officers will invite kids to participate in their “dunk a cop” game.
At the dunking booth, participants will have three chances to plunge a Victoria police officer deep into a tank of water.
“You can watch us make fools of ourselves,” said Turner, who added that the department will also offer a drunk-goggle cornhole game and crime prevention information.
Turner said the department in part decided to support and participate in the event to show Victoria youths that police are not the bad guys.
Apart from community events, most residents, he said, come into contact with police in less than ideal situations.
“We are trying to bring a little more positivity to the community and hopefully develop some positive relationships,” he said, adding, “We are folks just like everyone else.”