By AMANDA KIMBLE
CROSS TIMBERS (October 3, 2016) – National Night Out is an annual observance. The event aims to forge a partnership between community members and law enforcement officials in an effort to combat and prevent crime.
A series of events is held on the first Tuesday in October across Texas. The events vary across communities, where organizers host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other community events that include safety tips and demonstrations from emergency personnel.
This year, National Night Out events, which are free and open to the public, are being held in Stephenville and Hico.
Mary Castorena, community coordinator at Riverwalk Townhomes, has organized the Stephenville event for the last seven years. The town home community, located at 1001 East Washington Street near the intersection of East Washington and U.S. Highway 281, hosts the event from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday.
“This is for the whole community, not just our residents,” Castorena said.
The event will welcome area nonprofit agencies like Paluxy River Children’s Advocacy Center and STARRY Counseling, as well as representatives of Stephenville Medical & Surgical Clinic. Each is expected to provide information on programs and services provided to the public.
Castorena said a few home-based business owners have been invited to show off their merchandise and introduce business opportunities, including representatives of Scentsy, Mary Kay, Park Lane Jewelry and others.
Stephenville police and other area responders will be on hand, and Castorena said each year offers something new – from fingerprinting and tours of patrol cars to information on Erath County Crime Stoppers and other safety initiatives.
Fun and games will keep children entertained and refreshments, including cake and punch will be served.
Beyond the county line, National Night Out will also be held 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Hico City Park, where an array activities sponsored by the Hico City Marshal’s Office have been planned to bring the community out for a good time and fellowship.
“It’s a great event for people to get and out meet our first responders,” Hico City Marshal Todd Ward said. “We will be fingerprinting children and giving those prints to parents. In case an unfortunate circumstance arises, parents will have a copy of their children’s fingerprints to provide to police.”
Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and mingle with firefighters and EMTs and see their lifesaving gear and equipment.
“It’s a great event and the perfect time to get out and meet first responders,” Ward said.
Plenty of fun activities, like a dress-up photo shoot, face painting, dunking booth, bounce house, Frisbee toss and pumpkin chunkin’ have also been planned and number of special guests will provide information on their goods and services.
“Merchants and clubs will be set up out at the park,” Ward added.
The entire event is open to the public and at no cost, and hot dogs will be served.