National Night Out draws crowd of 300
It was a night to remember.
The Blooming Prairie Police Department gave residents, young and advanced in age, a chance to renew acquaintances Tuesday night, Aug. 1, at National Night Out.
It had been several years since BP had been part of the National Night Out scene. National Night Out is just that, a national observance where neighbors get together to talk about being part of a safe community.
Blooming Prairie Police Chief Greg Skillestad and Officer Dan Peach coordinated lots of activities for the special night in Central Park in BP. “We footed the bill, but had help with free will offering to take care of the food, hot dogs, chips, cookies and water,” said Skillestad.
Thunder showers dampened the night early on, but the threatening clouds moved away later and many people who had left returned to the park.
Many games were made available for the younger set including two bouncy houses, a pull the duck game and ring the bell. A cotton candy machine was also on site.
Several Super Hero characters including a Tie fighter (Jonathan Butler helped by daughter Amber) from Star Wars and Captain America (Joe Clerkin) made appearances. Christy Bennet was the Riddler and Lindsey Rae was Harley Quinn. Robert Schubert was Imperial Officer, and R2-D2 was built by Jennifer and Robert Schubert.
Mollie Dukek transported the Super Heroes to the National Night Out. Cat Manchack organized their appearances. “I am proud to have been able to contribute to the first NNO,” said Manchack. She also offered her professional photography services (Catherine of the Sea Photography). “We all left with full hearts, and it was a great night for everyone,” she added.
Many of the Super Heroes are members of the 501st Legion and the Droid Builders Club.
Chief Skillestad said the PD was prepared to serve 600 hot dogs. “We must have served about 400,” he guessed. “I know we served 568 cookies,” Skillestad added. Karen Peterson of Confections by Karen, made 66 dozen cookies, the most popular being oatmeal chocolate chip.
Purpose of the gathering was to bring the community together and get people to know one another, said Chief Skillestad.
“We want to be approachable and want to make Blooming Prairie a safe environment for children and kids,” Skillestad remarked. “We want people to trust us and call us when they need help or when they have a way to help us with our job of emphasizing safety,” Skillestad added.
Safety identification kits were given to the kids in attendance. The kits were donated by Darrell Hansen and Frontier Communications. The kits included fingerprinting.
Other safety material was also available for the adults, including pamphlets on Internet safety and materials on how to protect yourself and how to protect your home.
Most officers of Blooming Prairie’s police force were in attendance at National Night Out. “We were there to answer questions and also to have fun,” Peach said.
Will there be another National Night Out next year? Skillestad answered with a non-hesitating “yes.” He said he heard “great comments” from local residents, including praise from Mayor H. Peterson. Skillestad reported Peterson and city administrator Mike Jones said they would favor supporting the event next year.
The evening concluded with a movie being shown on the southwest part of the park. The flick: “Zootopia” about the bunny who becomes a police officer.