On the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 2, the annual Community Night Out event will kick off its fourth year at Normal Park, hosted by the Merrill Police and Fire Departments.
As Police Chief Ken Neff explains, the event originated in 2013 as part of the department’s community crime prevention initiative.
“Back in 2013 when we began organizing our Crime Prevention Initiative, as part of the initiative, we thought that we should be participating in the National Night Out event like other police agencies and communities throughout the country,” Neff said. “The National Night Out occurs annually on the first Tuesday in August. The ‘Night Out’ is intended as a way for the police to connect with the community and citizens they serve, as well as provide crime prevention information. I thought we should expand that into showcasing as many of our other city and community services that are available.
“In doing so, we created the Community Night Out event. The Fire Department wanted to partner with us in the event and they now play a little bigger role in planning the event. We have benefited from some very good weather over the years and have seen some great attendance and participation in the community. More and more groups have asked to participate in it as well.”
The Community Night Out event invites residents to come out to Normal Park and enjoy free food, activities and fun, all while learning about the many services available to the community.
The evening will feature displays and activities for people of all ages, equipment and services from a variety of community resources, and a chance to visit and ask questions. Kids’ activities presented by Lincoln County Social Services, T.B. Scott Library, Trinity School, Merrill Parks and Recreation and Grandpa’s Petting Zoo, will also be on hand.
The River Bend Trail Foundation will have free bicycle helmets and other prizes, as well as presentations and activities related to bicycle safety. Information about the pedestrian trail will also be available.
Come see and experience some of the hard working and interesting equipment displayed by the Merrill Fire Department, Merrill Street Department, and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Experience Fatal Vision goggles, meet and greet Merrill Police K-9 Eros and participate in the popular “Fit for Duty” challenge course, presented by the Merrill Police Department.
Free food will be available including hot dogs, watermelon, shaved ice, strawberry shortcake, popcorn and more.
Merrill Transit will be running busses all evening at no cost to the rider. If bus rides to and from the event are desired, call 715-536-7112 before 5 p.m.
“This night is packed with all kinds of fun and interesting activities,” Neff adds. “Tuesday evening will allow everyone a chance to meet and talk with the people who devote their time to serving our community. The night is full of fun, food and activities.”