2007 - Night Out Draws Crowd
By MICHELLE GANASSI
Daily American Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 8, 2007 12:35 AM EDT
Somerset's Night Out drew a nice crowd, even though a late afternoon rain threatened to derail the event Tuesday. “It did it (rain) at a slow time when we had everything set up,” said Somerset Borough police officer Charlie Santa. “But a lot of good people were praying for it."
While Santa didn't know exactly how many people were in attendance, he said they went through 500 hot dogs and 1,000 bags of chips and slices of pizza. “I couldn't even begin to guess how many people are here,” he said. “It seems like there are more here than last year.”
Last year, the event was called National Night Out. This year, they changed the name to Somerset Night Out but still had it on the day with the national event. “Most people don't even care,” Santa said. “It's not like we are breaking off our affiliation, it's still part of National Night Out.”
Different groups and organizations from Somerset gave pencils, stickers and provided entertainment for the kids. Santa said a few people canceled and some didn't show. “All in all it worked out great,” he said.
Santa said a representative from the Village at Somerset volunteered to help serve food and man the different stations. “These are volunteers from the community,” he said. “Everyone who helped with the event made it happen.”
Police chief Randy Cox said the evening almost didn't happen because of scheduling. “Charlie stepped up and made it happen,” he said. After attendees enjoyed pizza, hot dogs, cotton candy and snow cones, the Officer Phil Program, a national safety program, talked to kids about staying safe. Then the police had a a demonstration with Arny and his handler, Officer Brian Harbart and a Taser demonstration with Officer Ken Michel.
After the demonstrations, parents and grandparents said they enjoyed the evening. Cheryl Vought, Somerset, brought her two granddaughters so they could meet the police officers. “I think it is good exposure to let them know the policemen are here to help and not to be afraid,” she said. Misty Urban, brought her daughter to see the police officers. “It's a nice community event,” she said, I like the police demonstrations because they show what they do on a daily basis.”
Ruth Reedy's granddaughter Alexis, said she enjoyed eating cotton candy and getting her face painted. For her grandmother, the event is a great day for the kids to mix fun with learning about safety and law enforcement. “I think it's a good idea,” she said.
The night ended with the annual glow stick parade led by a medical helicopter.
(Michelle Ganassi can be reached at email@example.com.)
Somerset Borough police officer Charlie Santa is attacked by Arny during a K-9 demonstration at Somerset Night Out at the community playground Tuesday evening. (Staff photo by Michelle Ganassi)