National Night Out first began when neighbors turned on their porch lights to signal they were working together against crime in their neighborhood. The National Association of Block Watch expanded that effort in attempts to grow the awareness of citizens playing a role in crime prevention. The block watch to promote police-community partnerships today has grown to become a revival of the community fair type gatherings we haven't seen for generations. Come out and join the fun, have some great food and browse the displays and demonstrations. You will find an event in every major city or town in the Verde Valley the Tuesday evening Aug. 3 Here are some specifics:
COTTONWOOD -- Cottonwood Police and Fire departments always put on a good show with good food and demonstrations of police and SWAT team techniques and equipment. Volunteer organizer, Jim Iacovacci says the Cottonwood event has grown to one of the largest National Night Out events in Arizona north of Anthem. Over 1000 people are expected to gather for the fun this year. Jim has been helping to organize the events in Cottonwood and Flint, Mich., for 28 years.
It's all free at the Cottonwood Kids Park near the Fairgrounds at 12th and Cherry Streets from 5:30 until 8 p.m.
Country music singer Brandon Shepard, who has recorded a couple CDs, will entertain, making this the first time music has been added to the festivities. The Tae Kwon Do troop will also show their skills. Cottonwood Police will show off their Incident Command Vehicle as well as SWAT team and other demonstrations.
Two grills will be operating to serve up hamburgers and hot dogs. The Knights of Columbus will join Bill Murray and Verde Lea Market this year in order to speed the popular serving lines.
Don't worry, there is plenty to keep the kids smiling as well. They will enjoy face-painting, and physical activities including a bounce house, a dry slide and the 35-foot tall rock climbing wall. Many of the community displays also have activities especially for kids.
There will be 22 displays about community services and health and safety and government organizations on tables around the park. This year, 40 businesses, both large and small, have contributed to help make NNO a success.
CLARKDALE -- National Night Out in Clarkdale, from 6 to 9 p.m. is centered around the Clarkdale Park and the gazebo. It's a great opportunity to meet police and firefighters that protect your neighborhoods.
Food will be provided by Hog Wild BBQ. Kids can enjoy a bounce house. There will be a number of demonstrations.
A raffle with great prizes will befit the police department's purchase of bullet-proof vests. Raffle winners will compete for a $200 Wal-Mart gift certificate, alignment and balancing at Big O Tires, breakfasts at Hobo Joe's and free meals from Brandi's Kitchen or bouquets from Flowers Unlimited and plenty more. Purchase tickets at the Clarkdale National Night Out for $1 (or 6 for $5) or in advance from Clarkdale Police or Clarkdale Fire District.
CAMP VERDE -- The Camp Verde National Night Out that supports Neighborhood Watch will be held at the soccer field behind Camp Verde Town Hall at 473 Main Street. Come by between 6 and 9 p.m.
There will be food and drink and information booths dealing with public safety. The booths and displays will be arrayed on the soccer field. Food and entertainment will be served up beneath the Ramada behind Town Hall.
Members of the Camp Verde Marshal's Office, the Camp Verde Kiwanis and AzCops will be cooking and serving.
Information booths and displays will include Neighborhood Watch Operation Programs, Child Identification, and drug awareness. CVMO's K-9 Jake will be on hand along with Deputy Berrelez. There will be numerous police and fire vehicles on display.
Also invited to display are the Yavapai-Apache Police, the Yavapai County Sheriffs Office, the Department of Public Safety, the National Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish, Department of Liquor
Control, the Yavapai County Attorney's Office, Camp Verde Fire and Montezuma-Rimrock Fire and the American Red Cross.
SEDONA -- The Sedona Police will hold a National Night Out event at the Posse Grounds Community Park, at 525 Posse Grounds Road in Sedona. It is also Tuesday night from 6-8 p.m. and everything is free.
This event will include city agencies and education regarding crime prevention and community safety and a BBQ. Any questions regarding this event may be directed to Theresa Goodrich at (928) 284-2141.