Described by the national organization as a “community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live,” National Night Out will return to Philomath Tuesday, Aug. 1.
The event will run from 6-8 p.m. at Philomath City Park in the vicinity of Randy Kugler Community Hall.
National Night Out has become a traditional annual event across the country — most marking the occasion on the first Tuesday in August. Safety demonstrations, youth events, vehicles on display and interaction with emergency personnel in a relaxed atmosphere are among the typical activities.
Philomath Chief of Police Ken Rueben said the local event has changed little in recent years and always attracts a considerable number of people.
“It’s just one of those on the calendar every year that people have grown to expect,” Rueben said. “They come out, get some food and hang out with us a little bit.”
Of course, it’s popular with young children who get to see a police car, fire engine and other vehicles up close. Free food is popular for individuals of any age.
“It’s the standard fried chicken, potatoes, hopefully some watermelon,” Rueben said about the food, which is provided to the organization from Safeway at a discounted price. “Everybody loves the chicken and the watermelon.”
Hosted by the Philomath Police Department, other agencies, organizations and businesses that had confirmed attendance as of earlier this week include Philomath Fire and Rescue, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division, Benton County Sheriff’s Posse, Benton County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol, National Guard, Pioneer Connect, Mid-Columbia Bus Co., Philomath Community Services, Strengthening Rural Families, Philomath Farmers’ Market and Heartland Humane Society.
“National Night Out is designed to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community,” the organization states on its website. “Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.”
The Public Safety Chili Cook-off, which earlier this week recognized two students for their help with designing a poster, will have a presence with information about the Sept. 10 event.
“I think this year, we’re going to have a booth and do a little bit more on-the-ground advertising for the chili cook-off,” said Rueben, who not only participates as a contestant but organizes the event for the Philomath Police Foundation with support from the Benton County Sheriff’s Foundation and Army National Guard. “That’s our big deal … that’ll be a lot of fun.”