National Night Out is celebrated on October 1, 2019, this year. I've never been to one, but after unintentionally staying for tonight's Kickoff Party, I think I just might host one for my neighborhood.
There was quite a line up of guest speakers. Gregg County Judge, Bill Stoudt, Chief of Police, Mike Bishop, Gregg County Sheriff, Maxey Cerliano, District Attorney Tom Watson, Judge Tim Bryan, and Longview Police Department Sergeant, Jacky Hiles and Mayor Andy Mack all had something good to say about previous years National Night Outs. There are two awards given for Best Crime Watch Neighborhood, which if you're like me, a "carrot chaser", that is an incentive that I take on as a dare.
One side of Maude Cobb was filled with vendors, nonprofits, and free goodies. There were different Police vehicles lined up down the center and the other side had tables and chairs facing the podium. A gaming bus was in the corner of the room along with a Longview Fire Department truck, which I fully intended to scope out, but ran out of time. Cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chips, drinks, desserts, plus the Kona shaved ice truck and an ice cream truck were all waiting to be enjoyed.
The vendors ranged from a local craft maker to Farmasi skincare and makeup. Target was also there with Spot, not the real deal, but his replica that sat proudly on the table. Nonprofits included CASA, Longview Citizens on Patrol, and the reason I attended to begin with, the Red Cross. They're my next nonprofit to post about it. I had no intention of staying. My mission was to photograph some people at the Red Cross table and head home. Instead, I stayed and asked my children to come too. (I have two that already have their licenses and the youngest is going to get his permit tomorrow!)
It was a really neat event. Several businesses in town donated prizes for the drawings. There were two tables covered in items. The vendors had door prizes to give away on top of all of those. We met our PAR officer and recognized a few others from the Women's Safety Course and just around town. All of my children work at Chick-fil-A so they know some of them from work. I am so appreciative of each and every one of our LPD because they put their lives on the line daily. The LFD are also my heroes. Putting themselves in harms way shows great bravery.
What is National Night Out? I'm not completely sure how the program works, so if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me. One person from a neighborhood signs up to be the host. This person is responsible to inform neighbors of what time they are getting together and what, if anything, they can contribute to the meetup. Some hosts encourage a dessert while others choose pot luck. The host also decides where to meet. Officers make an effort to attend as many neighborhood events as they can that day. It's a great opportunity for you to get to know your PAR officer.
I don't know how big of a radius my neighborhood will consist of, but I think I'm going to get a sign in my yard to host this year's National Night Out October 1. What about you? Want to know the specifics? Click here and you'll be taken to the citie's website.