MIDDLETOWN—The City of Middletown joined other communities across the world on Aug. 2 for National Night Out, bringing together the city’s youth, police, and a host of community organizations in a party-like atmosphere in Fancher-Davidge Park.
“We want the community of Middletown to know their officers by name, not just their uniform,” said organizer and Middletown Alderwoman Kate Ramkissoon. “That’s the hope of all this.”
There were performances, organizations, and businesses passing out info, a bounce house, vendors, a video game trailer, and a dunk tank where children could drop a policeman in the water by hitting a target with a ball, among other things.
For the second year in a row, fireworks followed the event, a tradition that started last year when rain forced cancellation of a fireworks show planned for June 27.
“That’s what we have over everybody else,” said Police Chief Ramon Bethencourt, who said he thought this was the largest turnout yet for the annual event.
Ramkissoon said around 20 of the roughly 45 organizations and businesses that participated this year were new, but many returned from last year as well.
The history of the event in Middletown stretches back at least 30 years, said Alderman Jerry Kleiner, who attended the event. National Night Out started 33 years ago with a celebration in Boston, according to the National Night Out website. Now it is celebrated annually in over 16,000 communities, the website says.
National Night Out is a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance “the communities in which we live through an established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations, and volunteers across the nation,” the website says.
It is celebrated in all 50 states, parts of Canada, and U.S. territories and military bases around the world. In New York, close to 70 municipalities are registered on the National Night Out website, with at least six in Orange County: Wallkill, Port Jervis, West Point, Newburgh, Middletown, and Highland Falls.
It is celebrated on the first Tuesday in August, except in Texas and a few other places, which hold it on the first Tuesday in October.
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