National Night Out wants neighborhoods to have a ball
It’s time to get to know your neighbors again.
Quincy’s National Night Out, the city’s version of a nationwide event, returns July 31 and Aug. 1.
The two-day shindig seeks to acquaint and reacquaint residents with their neighbors, and in turn help emergency personnel.
“If you don’t know your neighbors and there’s a fire in one of the houses on your block, you wouldn’t be able to help first-responders,” Quincy Police officer Julie Fuller said. “If you do know your neighbors, you would know, ‘OK, there’s three people who live there and I see them all standing out there.’ or ‘There’s still someone in there.’”
The event took place at the Reiman-Simmons House heritage site last year, and it has also taken place at the city pool in years prior. This year it has been moved to Lauzier Park, starting at 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., July 31.
The park is bigger and as attendance to National Night Out in Quincy has grown, so has the need for a bigger place.
Between games like balloon toss and sack races, a large barbecue and other attractions like the performance of traditional Hispanic dancers, and a DJ, a bigger space was paramount for an event that has kept growing since it started, more than half a decade ago.
The QPD wants neighbors to get to know their law enforcement personnel in an environment other than a 911 call, Fuller said, and that’s the reason behind the block parties. For starters, the uniformed personnel cooks the hot dogs at the barbecue.
“It’s kind of a fun event for us to kind of give back to the community,” said Fuller, who is working side by side with QPD Sgt. Jorge Trujillo organizing this event.
The second day has been reserved for block parties. People can register their block party at the QPD, and officers and first-responders will then visit the block parties.
“Anybody who wants to have a block party on their block can talk to their neighbors and coordinate it,” Fuller said. “Then they just have to let us know where it’s going to be at, and we will stop by and visit.”
This is the seventh year for the event in Quincy. Nationwide, it started in 1984.
The first National Night Out involved close to 400 communities. The 2015 edition involved more than 20,000, according to the website of the organization that sponsors it every year, the National Association of Town Watch. Most places celebrate it the first Tuesday of August (Aug. 1 this year, Aug. 7 next year and Aug. 8 in 2019) but hot-weather states like Florida and Texas have the option of holding it during the fall, to avoid having the sweltering heat become a problem or a hazard.
At least in Quincy it has made a difference, Trujillo said. “The community now knows who its officers are,” he said. “And they know why and when to call the police.”
To learn more contact the QPD at 787-4718.
By Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com