Anna residents filled Slayter Creek Park on Tuesday, Oct. 4 for the annual National Night Out hosted by the city's safety forces.
Everyone, young and old, had the opportunity to meet members of the Anna Police and Fire Departments, as well as officials from other local public safety forces. Of course, the police and fire vehicles on display, with lights flashing and sirens wailing, were a big draw for the children.
What seemed like a never ending line of children and parents at the police booth kept officers busy handing out gift bags, with coloring books and safety information. In addition, each child received an Anna Police Junior Officer badge.
Firefighters cooked hot dogs for everyone, and appropriately the Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce had a table of their traditional giant pickle jars. Chamber members on duty, however, were at a loss to explain when or how the pickle tradition started.
For the children, the night had several activities including face painting, balloon animals and a non-stop rockin' n' rollin' bounce house.
There was also a bit of spontaneous life-saving entertainment as two young ladies chased, caught and saved a lively little frog that wandered into the pavilion from being trampled.
At the GCEC table, employees were handing out lots of goodies.
“We have participated in every National Night Out,” a GCEC employee said. “We consider ourselves part of the Anna Community.”
While the purpose of the event is to solidify police and community relationship and reduce crime, National Night Out has become a yearly tradition for area residents to spend time with the city's police and fire department personnel and socialize with neighbors and new friends.
This idea was reflected in comments by Anna resident Adam and his family, who were attending the event for the first time.
“We wanted to see what was going on in the community,” he said.
Recent Anna residents, Nick and his family, said they were also attending National Night Out for the first time. But Nikki and Josh, with their two children, said it best.
“We came to thank the officers for keeping us safe,” Nikki said.
Anna Police Lt. Jeff Caponera said the Anna Police Department wanted to thank local businesses that contributed refreshments for the evening, and he commended Sgt. Chris Reeves for putting the event together.
“National Night Out was once again a success with good attendance,” he said.