Published Date Written by Noelle Barrett
Times have changed since the first National Night Out event was held in 1984. Some fear their community is more dangerous. Parents fear for the safety of their children.
More than 16,000 communities across the country will host National Night Out events on Tuesday, Aug. 5 hoping to instill confidence in their community and promote crime prevention and safety.
Middletown, Highspire, Royalton, Steelton and Swatara Twp. will be among the communities hosting events.
While events across the area will focus on connecting residents with crime prevention services and making law enforcement and emergency personnel more accessible, there will also be an emphasis on neighborhood camaraderie.
“I hope the community shows support. This helps build the bridges between the community, the police department, and the [local] government,” said Gary Rux, a Middletown police officer leading the borough’s event. “This is our community. By showing support on these kinds of things, we’re showing our willingness to come together.”
In addition to police, fire departments and other emergency services, many local businesses and organizations also will be present at the events.
Here is a list of places where National Night Out will take place:
Naional Night Out will he held from 6 to 9 p.m. at two locations – Hoffer Park and Oak Hills Park. About 85 vendors will either be present or contribute to the event.
Among the participants will be local businesses, churches, veterans’ organizations and banks, as well as several police departments, including Middletown, Lower Swatara Twp., Penn State Harrisburg, Harrisburg International Airport, Capitol Police and Pennsylvania State Police.
Local fire companies and emergency medical services also will participate, as well as Dauphin County agencies, including the District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Crisis Response Team, Children and Youth and Drug and Alcohol Services.
There will be an assortment of free food donated by local businesses, as well as cupcake decorating. Both sites will have many activities and games, including dunk tanks, bounce houses, mega-slides, DUI training and field sobriety tests, fingerprinting, face painting, skateboarding demonstrations and train rides by the Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad, Rux said.
Local Irish dance teams and the Raiders Extreme cheerleading team will perform, and Hersheypark’s ZooAmerica will have animals on-site.
The Middletown Community Pool will also be open for two free swim sessions from 4 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. before the event starts.
Additional parking will be available at Fink Elementary School.
Highspire will host its event from 6 to 9 p.m. at Memorial Park on Lumber Street. Highspire’s police and fire department will be available to meet with residents. There will be also be free hot dogs, chips and drinks, and games and activities, including a duck race. The fire department will demonstrate a car extraction.
Royalton will host its first National Night Out in several years from 5 to 8 p.m. at Kiwanis Park. The idea to host the event was Mayor Judy Oxenford’s, who decided “it would be a good idea to have the event to bring the community together,” according to borough secretary Amy Burrell.
Royalton police officers, Londonderry Volunteer Fire Department and South Central EMS will be present to meet with residents. There will be free hot dogs, chips and drinks, and numerous activities, including games, music and a bike rodeo. Children are encouraged to bring their bicycles and helmets to participate in the rodeo.
Steelton will host its event from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Steelton Fire Department on North Front Street. Representatives from the police department, fire department and 19 organizations, including the Capital Blue Cross CHIP program, Dauphin County’s human services agency and probation department, YWCA, Humane Society of Harrisburg, Community Life team and numerous church groups will participate. There will be games and activities, including a dunk tank, free hotdogs and drinks, and an appearance by the Elks Drill Team.