It was a hot dog type of night at National Night Out
It was a doubleheader of sorts at the Blooming Prairie Police Department's National Night Out on Tuesday, July 30 at Central Park in Blooming Prairie.
The BP Police Department with area businesses sponsored the third annual Blooming Prairie Night Out on Tuesday, July 30.
The weather conditions couldn't have been any better and this beautiful summer night attracted more than 350 persons, the highest crowd total the past three years.
"We started serving hot dogs at 5 p.m. and gave away our last hot dog at 7 p.m.," said Blooming Prairie Police Chief Greg Skillestad.
Skillestad, officer Dan Peach and the rest of the Blooming Prairie PD helped organize the event. This year, the police linked its bicycle rodeo with the Night Out event. Most of the games and other activities were held in the park.
The Bike Rodeo was staged on the street between the BP Elementary School and Central Park. The BP Fire Department and BP Ambulance Service parked their rigs behind the starting line for the Bike Rodeo.
Bike Rodeo participants first went through an obstacle course, being coached on rules and laws regulating bicycle use.
Two local realtors, Jennifer Walsh of Keller Williams Premier Realty of Blooming Prairie, and Kris Heichel of The Kris Heichel Team of Fairway Independent Mortgage of Austin, donated 30 bicycle helmets.
The helmets were to be picked up at B to Z Hardware in Blooming Prairie.
Realtor Walsh gave a special testimonial about bicycle safety, gathering the youngsters to a spot in the park. She told of her nephew, 10 at the time, being struck by a vehicle. Had he not worn a bicycle helmet, he would have not survived, Walsh said.
Some of the other activities included: live music by DJ Izzy; live taser demonstration (victim an Explorer Scout); bounce house; emergency vehicle tours; local business displays; Marian Mast's rock shop; zombie tag; bean bag toss; streamer toss and cotton candy toss.
Waco Vandal of Vandal's Family Market, was chief proprietor of a cotton candy machine. As he whirled out the cotton candy, Vandal's employee Juan Villarreal Ramon invited youngsters to try to put a brick into a basket.
Chief Skillestad's officer duty team on duty at Blooming Prairie Night Out included himself, Dan Peach, Jake Peterson, Shane St. John, Mark Lang, Matt Miller and Aaron Frieson. Not able to make the public event were officers Rick Ellingson and Craig Helgeson.
As a community event, Blooming Prairie Night Out brings people together.
"Just having people who know we are approachable, makes this event worth having," said Skillestad.
"We want the young ones including toddlers, school age to teens to come to us with anything that is on their minds," Skillestad continued.
"Holding this Night Out allowed us to answer the public's questions and it gave us a chance to tell them about new laws passed including the Hands Free Law," Skillestad explained.
In addition to talking to local police, kids and adults also had the chance to visit with First Responders.
"It was really rewarding to have kids give us fist bumps and really look up to us," Skilestad remarked. "We are really a close-knit community and it was really fun to see families having fun," he added.
In other cities in the nation, many people turn away from the police. "That's not the case here," Skillestad confirmed. "We are building relationships for years to come," he added.
For dessert, visitors had a chance to tasted some of Karen's Confections cookies. Karen Peterson made and donated 40 dozen cookies, M & M, old-fashioned sugar, Gluten free and egg free chocolate chip.
Looking ahead to next year, Skillestad and Peach said they hoped to bring back the Super Heroes. "We have also talked about catering a meal and maybe having a dunk tank. Who would be on the dunk stand? Maybe, the chief.