Now in its 36th year, National Night Out events will be held Tuesday, Aug. 6 in Dover, Rochester and Somersworth, as well as thousands of locations around the nation.
Beginning in 1984 as an annual summertime evening dedicated to celebrating community building and camaraderie, National Night Out is now celebrated by over 38 million people across the nation. The event aims to create safer, more inclusive neighborhoods and enhance relationships between local law enforcement and the public through special events put on by individual participating locations.
With 33 cities in New Hampshire slated to participate this year, locations in the surrounding area are providing a myriad of free events and substance-free activities for the public to enjoy.
The Dover Police Department announced the city’s celebration of National Night Out will take place at Henry Law Park from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
In efforts to help familiarize the public with the responsibilities of local law enforcement, members of the Dover police will be in attendance to discuss policies and crime prevention. Special equipment from both the Dover Police Department and the Dover Fire and Rescue Department will be on display for the public to view, such as a police cruiser, a police motorcycle and machinery used by the fire department.
Several local organizations, including Dover Public Library, the Army National Guard and Seacoast Area Alzheimer’s Association, will be in attendance to present information to the public about their respective organizations. Additionally, SOS Recovery and the Dover Elks will be on hand to discuss drug prevention and treatment.
“The Dover Police Department recognizes the importance of getting to know the members of our community and the value of positive police-community partnerships. National Night Out is an excellent opportunity for police officers, firefighters and community members to meet and interact. This goes a long way toward solving community problems together.” said Chief William Breault.
SOS Recovery and the Dover Elks will be giving out information on drug prevention, treatment and recovery resources, while HAVEN will provide information about violence prevention. The Army National Guard,
Seacoast Area Alzheimer’s Association, Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, and the Dover Public Library will also be present with informational materials. Dover Fire Department Firefighters Union Local 1312 will be serving food and beverages donated by Hannaford and Shaw’s supermarkets.
Taking place at Rochester Common, the city’s celebration of National Night Out will run 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Rochester Police Department Juvenile Division Coordinator Nicole Rodler, who has served as the coordinator for Rochester’s National Night Out since 2009, has planned a jam-packed lineup for the evening.
According to Rodler, over 30 local businesses and organizations will be set up at the event to advertise and provide engaging activities- including yoga, martial arts and firehose competitions for the public. With the sponsorship of Anthem Blue Cross, a wildlife exhibit will be set up by Wildlife Encounters Ecology Center. On top of that, Loudon-based musical group Craig Kendall and the Flat Top Band will be performing their country and rock-infused music all evening, and local eateries such as Clemento’s Pizzeria & Brew and Pam & Fam’s Forkin’ Good Grub Food Trucks will be offering food for under $10.
After the festivities end at 8:30 p.m., local travel agency Guyer Travel International is providing a free screening of “The Lion King.”
Rodler, who formerly worked for the Manchester Police Department and coordinated their National Night Out events for five years, anticipates a good time had by all in attendance, rain or shine.
“This event has been a well-attended event over the years with over 3,000 attendees and even despite rain in the past, they stick it out,” she said. “It’s a great community event to celebrate community collaborations and offer the Police Department an opportunity to engage with the community in a positive pro-social environment.”
Somersworth’s National Night Out will take place in Jules Bisson Park from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The event is put together annually by the Somersworth Prevention Coalition, a group aimed to diminish substance abuse among community members, and the Somersworth Police Department, with the help of volunteers.
Police Capt. Timothy McLin said there will be a barbecue free for all the guests, as well as different Somersworth National Night Out-themed merchandise, such as T-shirts, wristbands and glow sticks.
Headlining the fun-filled evening will be a dunk booth, a dance floor with members of Sole City Dance offering lessons, a DJ and a simulated smokehouse for kids to learn the importance of fire safety. For guests looking to stay active throughout the evening, Somersworth’s Recreation Department will have games and basketball courts will be open in the park.
Additionally, McLin said the city is offering a few different raffle options throughout the evening, with several items being donated by Target for the cause.
Approximately seven or eight local organizations will be at the event to promote membership and community involvement.
“The place is usually packed pretty full,” McLin said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”