Planning under way for Salisbury’s National Night Out

The community will come together in a spirited atmosphere, with snow cones, door prizes and a disc jockey, for a serious purpose – preventing crime.

Salisbury’s observance of the 33rd annual National Night Out on Aug. 4 will be at City Park near the bandstand from 5 to 8 p.m., said Christine Chestnutt, Safe Streets and National Night Out coordinator.

“It’s to bring awareness for prevention,” said Chestnutt, adding citizens throughout the country will  leave their porch lights on that evening, as a message that criminals are not welcome.

“Here in Salisbury, we always have a DJ. We have free food. Everything is free. There will be about 50 vendors with information about their services.  They will have information about safety, about how to keep homes safe, keeping homes safe, prevention. There will be giveaways and games for kids,” Chestnutt said.

Members of the police and fire departments will compete in a race, tug of war and whiffle ball tournament. Hot dogs, chips, snow cones, soda and bottled water will be available.

State police, city police, sheriff’s office deputies and fire trucks will be there, as well as a miniature house that teaches children what to do in case of fire, if they’re in a smoke-filled room.

Forty bicycles, donated by local churches, will be given away in a drawing, as well as book bags filled with school supplies and gift cards.

“This is the most bikes we ever had in my three years doing this. We had 17 bikes last year,” Chestnutt said.

“The goal is to improve the relationship between the community and the police. People see the police as real people. They aren’t just out there arresting people. They can have that personal interaction with them. We want to strengthen community partnerships,” Chestnutt said.

National Night Out was originally positioned in various neighborhoods each year, but Chestnutt said organizers felt it was important to gather in a central location, at City Park, so everybody felt welcome.

Last year 1,200 attended National Night Out in Salisbury, and Chestnutt is hoping to see 1,500 there next month.

In case of rain, the event will be Aug. 6.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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