Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 30
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
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N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

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Princeton, Other Communities Gear Up For “Night Out” Events

Anne Levin

With 2,000 hot dogs ready to grill and a healthy supply of “slushies” waiting to be mixed, Princeton Recreation and Township Police departments are gearing up for Community Night Out at Community Park Pool on August 2. Everything is free at this annual gathering, from pool admission to mini-facials and a chance to drop police officers into a dunk tank.

“This is an evening of fun and sharing for the community,” said Vikki Caines of the Recreation Department. “There is nothing to sell. The pool is the hub of the community during the summer, so it’s the perfect place.”

A 22-foot inflatable slide, a rock-climbing wall, and a SpongeBob SquarePants Moon Bounce will be available for youngsters. Participants can explore the emergency services vehicles of the local fire, police, and first aid squads. The Origins store in Palmer Square will be offering free mini-facials, and the Princeton Tennis Program will demonstrate its “Tennis in the Streets” program in the parking lot.

Representatives from the Parks and Recreation Department will be on hand to talk about the upcoming renovation of the pool, scheduled to begin after Labor Day. About 2,500 people attended Community Night Out last year, and more are expected this year, Ms. Caines said.

Though it is held the same night as National Night Out events in towns and cities all over the country, Princeton’s celebration is done independently. The focus is on having fun, getting acquainted with local police officers, and learning about safety.

“It’s about crime prevention and the first responders in the community,” said Sergeant Fred Williams, who is in the patrol division of the Princeton Township Police. “We want people to know where their tax dollars are going. Every Township resident pays about $600 in taxes to the police department, and this is our way of giving back. We want everyone to come down and meet us. We volunteer for this and bring our own families. We interact with people and answer questions. It’s nice to see the people we’re serving, not just when we pull them over or go to their house to answer a call.”

West Windsor celebrates its 28th Annual National Night Out on August 2 at the West Windsor Community Park, at 193 Princeton Hightstown Road, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will highlight crime and drug prevention while offering free food, games, pony rides, inflatable bounce houses, local bands, a clown, police and fire demonstrations, and other activities.

National Night Out was introduced by The National Association of Town Watch in 1984 to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anti-crime efforts. What started with 400 communities in 23 states, involving 2.5 million Americans, has steadily grown. Last year, 37 million people in 15,110 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases across the world took part in block parties, cookouts, parades, safety fairs, and other activities.

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