MERIDEN — National Night Out returns to Hubbard Park this Tuesday, featuring performances, food and raffles in a family-oriented atmosphere. The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. and its rain date is Aug. 3.
Holly Wills, president of the Council of Neighborhoods, said National Night Out is organized in partnership by the Council of Neighborhoods and the Meriden Police Department. The Council of Neighborhoods is the parent organization of neighborhood associations throughout Meriden.
This year marks the 18th annual National Night Out. Wills noted that the event was celebrated on a smaller scale in the past two years due to the pandemic.
It’s a nationwide event, normally held the first Tuesday of August every year. Wills said the event is completely free including a disc jockey, bike raffles, karate demonstrations, hamburgers, hot dogs, and popcorn.
The fire department, Amtrak police, FBI and branches of the military will be present at the event. The local Bookmobile, dance performances and K-9 demonstrations will also be featured. More than 40 non-profit organizations will showcase their services to the community. A variety of sponsors and grants make the event possible, Wills said.
The event is normally well attended by a diverse group of residents.
“It’s amazing walking through the group, the different ethnicities that you see there,” Wills said. “I just love walking by the seniors that are enjoying the night sitting in their lawn chairs and just enjoying the music.”
Meriden Police Lt. Héctor Cardona Jr., Neighborhood Initiative Unit commander, collaborates with the Council of Neighborhoods to ensure that a variety of law enforcement and emergency personnel attend the National Night Out.
“It’s a lot of fun for the community and it’s a good night out,” he said of the event. He said National Night Out is an opportunity for officers to interact with the community.
Tthe event gives officers a chance to engage with individuals and families one on one, in an environment different from an emergency or law enforcement situation, he said. “It gives us an opportunity to really dedicate time to the children and the families,” Cardona said.
“We enjoy doing this for the community and having the community come out and show support for one another,” Cardona said.
There are about 30 neighborhood associations in Meriden under the umbrella of the Council of Neighborhoods. The goal of the neighborhood associations is for neighbors and police officers in the Neighborhood Initiative Unit to work together. Officers in the Neighborhood Initiative Unit attend meetings held by the neighborhood associations to discuss issues, provide data and inform the community about things happening in the city.
Visit meridencona.wordpress.com/associations to learn more about the Council of Neighborhoods.