Officers Howard (left) and Nelson (right) welcomed families t to NNO activities at Twiggs Park.

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More than 500 people came out to celebrate National Night Out (NNO) from 5:30 – 10 p.m. on August 1 at various locations around Evanston. Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch on the first Tuesday of August each year, NNO promotes police-community partnerships by providing an opportunity for neighbors and law enforcement to get together under positive circumstances. The goal is to make neighborhoods safer and better places to live.

The list of NNO events included something for everyone, with a focus on family-centered activities. Brummel Park neighbors came together for a community walk along Howard Street, while Kamen Park was the setting for a 9th Ward event that featured food trucks, art and a DJ.

There was a meet and greet at Cartwright Park, and a family night at Evanston Animal Shelter, where friendly dogs were welcomed. Penny Park neighbors watched a Starlight Movie in the Park, “Jumanji”. Hands-on learning took place at Evanston Public Library, where participants enjoyed Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) activities outside the Church Street entrance.

The 5th Ward event, which is traditionally held at Church and Dodge, was held at Twiggs Park. Alderman Robin Rue Simmons supported the change, saying, “This setting gave us an opportunity to re-introduce Twiggs park and the many upgrades that have taken place here, such as the natural habitat, the basketball court donated by (Northwestern University), the soccer pitch donated by a private resident, and the free Little Libraries. We were also fortunate to have WGCI radio personality Leon Rogers and the Rec Mobile here.”

The evening at Twiggs Park featured a barbecue, music, and nature tours. Activities for youth included ball toss and giant Jenga games, face painting, and a bubble table, all delivered to the site by the City’s Mobile Recreation truck. Young attendees received free raffle tickets for two bicycles and backpacks donated by Target. The company also provided supplies for those who wished to write “Thank you” cards to Evanston police and fire fighters. Wendy and Clarence Weaver scooped free ice cream throughout the evening, donated by C&W Market.

At the close of activities at Twiggs Park, Mayor Steve Hagerty thanked residents for their participation in this year’s National Night Out, which he said had better attendance than any past year. It was apparent that a strong sense of neighborhood camaraderie and a beautiful summer evening made Evanston NNO celebrations especially memorable and a fun time for all.