VENTNOR – The city’s 10th annual National Night Out event, held Tuesday, Aug. 7, offered families more than fun on a summer evening.
The event was held on the 35th anniversary of the National Night Out program, which originally encouraged families to turn on their porch lights and enjoy an evening with neighbors to reduce crime in the streets. Since then, it has blossomed into full-fledged community celebrations like the one held in the park behind the Ventnor Library and Cultural Arts Center.
Cities all over America come together on National Night Out to make their communities stronger and safer. In addition to bouncy rides, pony rides, food, music, games and lots of giveaways, families enjoyed a K-9 demonstration offered by the Ventnor City Police K-9 Unit.
According to Police Chief Doug Biagi, the night brings together all law enforcement, public safety units and the schools to share information about how to prevent crime, drug and alcohol abuse and build community.
It’s a way to start a conversation about how everyone in the community can work together to keep children and teens engaged and provide adults with lifesaving information, Biagi said.
Vendors included the Municipal Alliance, Ventnor Emergency Management, Prosecutor’s Office, Ventnor Police Department, Atlantic County Utilities Authority, Sustainable Downbeach and more, offering information and giveaways. The Ventnor City Education Association, which represents teachers and staff at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex, offered bright red reusable bags and encouraged shoppers to bring them to the store to avoid paying a 5-cents fee on plastic bags that goes into effect on Oct. 1.
The event is sponsored each year by the Ventnor City Municipal Alliance, which provided giveaways with a prevention message. The Police and Fire Departments brought their apparatus for children to experience, and the Beach Patrol set up a lifeguard stand and boat in the park.
Also attending was Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tynan who viewed the event as an opportunity to meet residents, city officials and community activists who all work to protect the environment and keep the city clean and safe.
Perhaps the most unique site of the evening was seeing children riding the pink unicorn on the beach.