Naperville’s National Night Out

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When cities across the country are having a party, you can bet Naperville will be joining in.

National Night Out is an annual event to help strengthen communities and neighborhoods.

The campaign began in Naperville a night early with a kickoff event at Centennial Beach.

“This is something we brought to the city a few years ago,” said Naperville’s National Night Out organizer Julie Smith. “Since we celebrate National Night Out in individual neighborhoods we thought it would be good to do one big community event.”

Despite threats of rain, plenty of kids and parents came out to enter raffles, play with some super balloon creations, and even get familiar with the police siren.

The next night, almost 50 neighborhoods participated individually in National Night Out, including Railway Plaza, where residents came by for fellowship and free ice cream.

“I came out so that I can meet some of my neighbors and kids and to make friends because all the community is here, and of course for the ice cream,” said Railway Plaza resident Sowmya Sama.

Across town in Brookdale, there were food trucks, free goodie bags, and some prominent local figures.

“In Brookdale they really do it right,” said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “You can see all the food trucks behind us here, last year they actually ran out of food, that’s how successful this was.”

Residents who attended either night were encouraged to make a donation of pet goods to A.D.O.P.T. pet shelter, this year’s charity sponsor.

The National Night Out campaign is also sometimes called “America’s Night Out Against Crime” and is designed to promote relations between the community and police. Police officers were on hand at every registered neighborhood to show support for the event.

The whole foundation of Naperville and our police department’s philosophy is community policing,” said Deputy Chief of Police Jason Arres. “So events like this allow us to come out, they get to see us in non-stressful situations and see we’re men and women just like they are, family folks and get to know us on that personal level.”

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.