Published Date Written by Jim Lewis
Do you know your local police force? Your neighbors? Your town?
Camaraderie is important, if you’re interested in keeping your neighborhood safe. For the third consecutive year, you can meet your local police and neighbors – and get to know your town – at Middletown Night Out, a free celebration of borough fellowship, good cheer and togetherness that aims to make the town a safer, better place to live.
The celebration will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at Hoffer Park.
This year’s event will be limited to just one park – last year’s Night Out was split between two parks, Hoffer and Oak Hills Park – but there will be more vendors this year, according to Middletown police Officer Gary Rux, who is spearheading the volunteer effort to stage it.
Seventy-three vendors are scheduled to appear, compared with 68 last year.
The American Legion Post 594 will grill about 1,200 free hot dogs, and residents of Frey Village will bake about 300 free cupcakes for the event. “Its a way they can participate and give back to the community,’’ said Tracy Klein, an administrator at Frey Village.
A trolley provided by Premiere 1 Limousine will offer a tour of 25 historic Middletown sites to riders, and the Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad will offer free rides.
Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from Troop 97 in Londonderry Twp. will set up a mock campsite, complete with a bonfire. A disc jockey will play music, and Penn State Harrisburg athletes will provide basketball drills for kids.
Fire trucks from Middletown, Londonderry and Lower Swatara fire departments will be on hand, as well as representatives from all four branches of the military.
Special guests include Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico, state Sen. Mike Folmer and a representative from state Rep. John Payne’s office, as well as the Penn State Nittany Lion mascot and McGruff the Crime Dog.
The goal: “To bring together the community and law enforcement and show we all want to stamp out crime in our community,’’ Rux said.
About 90 percent of everything you’ll see at Middletown Night Out is donated, Rux said. “That’s unselfishness you can’t find these days,’’ he said.
“I’ve met a lot of people and have been awed by the sacrifices and charity people bring to help our community,’’ he said.
Other boroughs will celebrate National Night Out with their own events, including Royalton, Highspire and Steelton.
National Night Out began in 1981 with the intent of uniting police and the communities they serve as a way to battle crime and make neighborhoods safer.
On Aug. 4, more than 16,100 communities will celebrate National Night Out in all 50 states, U.S. territories, military bases and some Canadian cities, according to national organizers.
Jim Lewis: 717-944-4628, or