WEST PULLMAN — Fathers and their families came out to celebrate with food and dance Sunday afternoon at the annual Real Men Cook fest.
The 24th annual Father's Day gathering drew hundreds of guests and dozens of chefs, including the group's 2013 spokesman, Nathaniel Pendleton, a chef and father of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was slain in January, sparking widespread outrage.
Pendleton, 42, came prepared with chicken salad, jerk sausage and turkey links, among others, all of which he said were a big hit with the crowd.
"I wish we could do this every day, I really do," he said. "Everybody here is upbeat, and that's a really good thing."
At a nearby table, Flazell Black and Robert Clayton were making their dining debut. Guests waited in line for their distinctive "Flazell's" sausage and ribs.
"Just this event alone makes my Father's Day," Clayton said, agreeing with Black that the two plan to make it a yearly Fathers Day destination.
Beverly residents Carla Robinson and her 6-year-old daughter Caitlin came by Real Men Cook with dad for the first time this year.
"We were looking for something special to do for the weekend," Robinson said. "It's been great so far."
When asked which of the many dishes was his specialty, Pendleton didn't hesitate.
"All of them," he said with a laugh.
As the day came to a close, Pendleton addressed the audience — one of the many times he's spoken about violence and community since his daughter was killed in January.
"To all the fathers: Hug your children, hug them and love them — that's what we have to do," he said.