The Aug. 1 events varied from a few neighbors gathering on the back porch for an ice cream social to tents, tables of food and a live band as 32 Englewood residents organized National Night Out activities.
“This is a tradition in our …
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“This is a tradition in our neighborhood and we always invite all the folks living in the two or three blocks around us,” JoAnne Whitaker said. “I have worked with friends to organize the event since the 1990s. Things haven't changed much, but there do seem to be more children coming to the parties the last couple years.”
The Whitaker-hosted event was in the Stanford greenbelt between Fox and Huron. Each year there is a theme, and this year it was butterflies. Tents were set up to provide shade for those sampling the potluck and there were activities for the children, including face painting, a water-balloon fight and a piñata.
One of the larger events was held at Broadway and Mansfield as Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church and Immanuel Lutheran Church joined forces to host a National Night Out celebration.
More than 100 people attended the event, which offered inflatables for children and a live band. Of course, everyone was welcome to help themselves to two long tables of food.
“This is the first time I have attended a National Night Out event and I think it is a great concept,” Englewood resident Laurel Rhodes said. “I think more people would attend if more people knew about it. I don't think the word goes out very well.”
She said one of the things she liked the best about the event was meeting people.
“It is great to see so many new faces,” Rhodes said. “It is a great way to bring people together. I have met more people from the neighborhood than I have met since I moved here in 2008.”
About a third of the 100 people John Gerlick invited came to his National Night Out party. It was a big hit for the children when two Englewood police officers guided their motorcycles to the curb adjacent to the event.
“There are a lot of longtime friends here,” he said as he flipped hamburgers. “I also have met a few people new to the neighborhood. I have hosted the party for several years and I think it is a great way to get to know new people in our neighborhood.”
Toni Arnoldy, Englewood Police Community Relations Coordinator, organizes the annual events. She distributes the party locations to city officials, council representatives and members of the police department so they can visit as many of the events as possible.
This is National Night Out's 34th year. Each year, the National Association of Town Watch urges residents to hold a National Night Out event on the first Tuesday of August. Annually, events are held in all 50 states, the U.S. territories and military installations around the world.
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