HURON – From musical entertainment to free hot dogs for the kids, there’s something for everyone as the Huron community comes together once again for its version of “National Night Out.”
It’s set for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Campbell Park, coinciding with similar events held around the United States involving citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses and local officials.
“National Night Out is designed to enhance the crime prevention programs that are out there and enlighten the public about what resources are available for them in town,” said Police Capt. Mark Johnson.
Now in its eighth year in Huron, the evening will feature food, informational booths, contests, demonstrations and youth activities.
Police service dog handler Dennis Maude will conduct a demonstration with service dog Poli at 5:30 p.m.
Huron Orchestra Strings directed by Beth Neitzert will perform at 6 p.m. and the duet of Karlie Bigelow and Jonathan Blom will entertain at 7 p.m.
In between, at 6:30 p.m., will be a donut eating contest, with prizes for first, second and third place finishers.
For the first 200 kids in the park, hot dogs will be distributed for free as a fund raiser for the First Presbyterian Church. Sponsors of the hot dogs will be Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3A and NorthWestern Energy.
Water games will be provided by the Huron Public Library, with prizes for various events, and inflatables will be set up around the park.
Emergency vehicles will also be on display once again.
“Actually, there’s a good list of participants from around the area and groups that are going to be participating with us,” Johnson said.
Turnout for National Night Out in Huron has been good each year.
“We try to bring everybody together in one place so we can kind of build those relationships with the community,” he said.
Citizens who attend can get to know their neighbors, others in the city and organizations and resources in a relaxed atmosphere.
Johnson said a goal is to tear down barriers and open lines of communication.
“We want to kind of gap that void that’s sometimes there about ‘where do I go and what do I do,’ and now you have that relationship with somebody,” he said.
Among the organizations participating this year are United Way Heartland Region, Western Way Cowboy Church, Huron All Star Hockey, People’s Transit, Community Counseling Services, Pathway of Hope, Cornerstones Career Learning Center and Jan Manolis Family Safe Center.
Others are the Beadle County Humane Society, Restoration Church, Beadle County State’s Attorney’s Office, Celebrate Recovery, HRMC Stop the Bleed, Xtreme Cheer and Dance and Center for Independence.
Representatives of SAVIN will also have a booth in the park. SAVIN stands for Statewide Automated Victim Information & Notification, a free service through the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office that provides crime victims with information and notification 24/7.
Nationally, communities have been hosting the event for 36 years as a way of heightening crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anticrime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and sending a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Johnson is encouraging people to come out and enjoy the evening in the park.
National Night Out, he said, “is a partnership between all of the community members and groups that are out there.”