Event on Thursday will kick off National Night Out festivities
Denton residents will have a chance to host neighborhood parties for community members to meet with Denton Fire and Police Department staff as well as other departments on National Night Out on Oct. 5.
The nationwide community-building event typically takes place on the first Tuesday in August, but Texas and a few other states hold out until October. The local event was canceled last year because of COVID-19 but will pick right up on Thursday with a kickoff event.
“It’s all about community,” said Amy Cunningham, a spokesperson for the Police Department. “We encourage folks to gather with their neighbors and get to know those around them on this night. It’s also a good opportunity for residents to know the first responders who serve their communities. A lot of times you only see firefighters and police officers on your worst day, so this is a positive opportunity to get to know the people who are actively in your area serving.”
Texas waits until fall for National Night Out events because the weather is a little cooler, Cunningham said.
Justin Harmon, the city’s public affairs communications manager, said the kickoff party at the Denton Civic Center is an opportunity for residents to meet with city staff and other neighbors. City spokesperson Ryan Adams added the event on Thursday is also an opportunity for people who don’t live in participating neighborhoods to still get the National Night Out experience.
“We will have some carnival games set up, inflatables, hot dogs, face paintings,” said Jennifer Eusse, the special events supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Department.
Between 16 and 20 department booths will be set up, she said, and department vehicles, such as fire trucks and solid waste hazmat trucks, will be parked for people to tour, as well.
On Oct. 5, from 6-9 p.m., Texas neighborhoods will host their community gatherings, which Cunningham said can range from barbecues to basketball games at local parks.
“It’s really up to the neighborhoods how they want to celebrate National Night Out,” Cunningham said. “We encourage everyone to register at cityofdenton.com/nno by Friday. The registration deadline is so we know where to send staff and fire trucks because we want enough time to adequately schedule everybody out.”
When registering, Cunningham said interested residents can select which city departments they want represented at their local gathering.
“Folks can select what department they want to come out to their event so we don’t limit it just to police and fire,” she said.
The city wants this year’s event to resemble the inaugural event from 2019 as much as possible, Adams said. The main thing that will be different is this year’s event will be held outside the Denton Civic Center and at Quakertown Park rather than indoors to address COVID-19 concerns.
“Our goal was to make sure we could still kind of capture that family-friendly-embodying atmosphere,” Adams said.
The kickoff event Thursday is open to the public from 5-8 p.m at the Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St.