Thousands of people – many of them young families – attended the third annual Fraser Valley Family Day festivities at Langley Events Centre on Sunday.

PHOTOS: Organizer measures event success of Langley Family Day festival in smiles

Attendance is up, and likely so too are donations at the Fraser Valley Family Day festivities in Langley Sunday.

• Click here to see gallery of photos from Sunday’s event

Measuring smiles, Dana Matheson is hailing this year’s Fraser Valley Family Day a resounding success.

For four hours Sunday, the fieldhouse at the Langley Events Centre was opened up to the public, and literally thousands of families came through the third annual Family Day festivities, said Matheson, the charity event founder.

“We had great feedback from vendors, as well as the people who attended. Everyone seemed to have a smile on their faces,” he said, already making plans for the fourth annual event next February.

Seeing the kids having fun was the highlight of the day for this Walnut Grove father of two.

“There’s absolutely nothing even close, this is for families and children and I love to see kids smiling, laughing and having fun,” he said.

Sharing the venue with another event Sunday, it was hard for organizers to track attendance, but Matheson believes it was even higher than the past two events.

“It was busier than last year for sure, and although we aren’t done counting the donations, I’m certain we blew last year out of the water,” added Matheson, who from his conception of the family festival insisted that it must also be a fundraiser.

Admission was by donation, with the funds split three ways between Basics for Babies, a youth-at-risk program offered by Life Ready Foundation, and the Township of Langley Firefighters Charitable Society.

Matheson’s goal was to raise $20,000 this year, but he’s optimistic the figure (which he’ll confirm Tuesday) will exceed $25,000.

“I want to thank our community in general for the support they’ve shown by coming to the event and helping to give back,” he told the Langley Advance.

“I want to thank all of my volunteers, as they give up the entire day to ensure that people are safe and having a blast. I couldn’t pull this off without my core group of committed volunteers. I’m thankful to have so many amazing friends.”

Will he do it again, Matheson was asked.

“Absolutely! The fourth annual will be even bigger and better. We will sit down and figure out what we can do better, and the planning will begin in the fall.”