Typically celebrated on the first Tuesday of August each year, National Night Out is an opportunity for local neighbors to connect with each other in solidarity against crime and drug use as well as meet their local law enforcement agencies, firefighters, and emergency medical service (EMS) providers.
Patterson Police Chief Tori Hughes led the entourage of vehicles in the cities’ fourth year of adopting the “caravan” style of outreach. The impressive presence of police, fire, and EMS personnel startled some neighborhood residents, while others were drawn to the neighborhood block parties sponsored by local businesses, non-profit organizations, and community members.
“This has been our best turnout,” said Chief Tori Hughes at the caravan’s last stop at a home on Yellowhammer Dr. in the Heartland Ranch subdivision. “I think people are starting to grasp the concept,”
The caravan started the Patterson neighborhood tour with a standing room only-stop to the clubhouse at the Las Palmas Mobile Estates at 6:00 p.m. before heading to the heart of the south side where members of the Helping Others Sleep Tonight (H.O.S.T.) house were busy dishing up hot dogs and providing refreshments to those in attendance.
From the H.O.S.T. house the caravan traveled north along South Third St, making its way through downtown before heading east of the tracks to Garza Park where residents formed another large neighborhood gathering and grilled hot dogs as they awaited the arrival of the law enforcement caravan.
Free face painting was provided as area youth got to pet local K-9 unit “Joker” as well as receive tours of squad cars, the Sheriffs’ motorcycles and fire trucks.
The Garza Park stop was followed by a stop at the Family Christian Center on Sixth Street, then by a stop at Aprigold Park in Walker Ranch before heading to Yellowhammer Drive.
“I was very pleased with their support of law enforcement and fire,” Patterson Police Services’ Deputy Vento, who helped organize the event, said regarding the communities’ involvement. “We were greeted with open arms.”
Beautification committee member Vivian Ratliff, who traveled to all six Patterson stops, noticed an increase in community involvement and participation in the event at each of the scheduled stops.
“Aprigold Park had a large showing,” Ratliff said. “The most kids showed up this time.”
City councilman Dominic Farinha also made it to every stop Tuesday evening.
“People have been saying that it’s nice to meet the police other than during a tragic event,” said Farinha. “They’re citizens just like us.”
Grayson Night Out
While localized block parties were encouraged in Patterson, the community of Grayson held their annual celebration in high fashion with dancers, horse and rider displays, as well as music and food all offered at the Grayson Community Center.
Children got first hand views from the inside of a West Stanislaus Fire Protection District fire engine, while approximately 300 Grayson and Westley area residents gathered around the basketball courts where the different performances occurred.
The event in Grayson culminated with tribal song and dance performances by the Balet Folclorico Anahuac group based out of Modesto. This is their fifth year providing National Night Out entertainment for the folks of Grayson and have become a highlight for the event with their colorful Aztec style regalia, elegant headdresses, and rhythmic drum beating.
Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 ext: 31 or firstname.lastname@example.org.