National Night Out returns Tuesday

Published 6:36 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

It’s an evening of community fun that Washington residents will not want to miss. On Tuesday, hundreds of people and more than 50 local organizations will gather at Beebe Memorial Park to take part in Washington’s annual National Night Out celebration.

Hosted by the Washington Police Department, the event serves as an opportunity for the public to interact with local law enforcement agencies in a relaxed environment.

“National Night Out is a movement that was launched 35 years ago, and the purpose behind it was to bring law enforcement and the community together under one umbrella to celebrate and fight against crime in our community,” said Kimberly Grimes, WPD’s crime prevention and community outreach manager. “It’s celebrated in all 50 states, plus Canada, on the same day.”

In addition to fun games and activities for the kids, a variety of community organizations and resources will provide area residents an opportunity to interact and learn about the services available to them. From organizations like Ruth’s House to the Department of Social Services, there will be a wealth of resources gathered in one place for the event.

New to this year’s event will be a collection of classic cars on site that are sure to turn heads among Washington’s auto lovers. A motorcycle club is also scheduled to make an appearance, and the WPD will be raffling off prizes such as a high-definition television and bicycles for the youngsters.

For the WPD and other law enforcement agencies participating, the event will serve as an opportunity to build relationships with the communities they serve. In addition to National Night Out, the WPD also hosts an annual Community Fun Day and is a presence at other community events throughout the year.

“I think it increases our ability to get out and interact with adults and kids on a more friendly level, instead of an adversarial level,” Washington Police and Fire Services Director Stacy Drakeford said of National Night Out. “We’ve increased our participation every year. I think is very important that people come out and participate in an event such as this.”

National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. According to the NATW, when the first event was held in 1984, more than 2.5 million Americans in 400 communities participated in 23 states. Today, more than 36 million people in 16,000 communities nationwide participate in the event.

Local sponsors for the Washington event include the WPD, the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, Bright Futures, Premiere Sports Academy, Washington Housing Authority, the City of Washington, the Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Childern, Zaxby’s and Walmart of Washington.

National Night Out will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at Beebe Memorial Park on Tuesday. The event is free and open to all. In the event of inclement weather, the rain date for National Night Out is Aug. 14.