Placerville loves a party, and to prove it friends and neighbors will take to the streets Tuesday, Aug. 5, to celebrate National Night Out, a nationwide event that always finds local participation at its peak.
In fact, Placerville has been honored with several first-place awards for its celebration over the years, including a first-place honor last year. Old Hangtown has been in the top four rankings for seven of the past nine years.
“We’d like to make this a 10-year record,” said Chief Scott Heller of the Placerville Police Department, primary sponsor of the annual local event that also enjoys the support of such stalwart friends as Grocery Outlet, Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises (MORE) and the El Dorado County Library.
Free hot dogs and tri-tip sandwiches will be served along with chips and drinks at several National Night Out locations this year, including 10 block parties where neighbors will come out, shake hands and get acquainted — perhaps for the first time.
National Night Out was begun in 1984 as an effort across the United States to “take back our streets,” letting the criminal element know that regular folks were fed up with crime and intended to send a message that crime prevention would be the order of the day … and night. The inaugural National Night Out was an effort to promote involvement in such programs as Neighborhood Watch and to foster and strengthen the public’s relationship with law enforcement and other emergency services groups.
Representatives of local fire departments and Search and Rescue organizations will join the fun Tuesday, and safety demonstrations, exhibits and youth events also are featured.
From its first foray three decades ago, 2.5 million Americans in 23 states took part. Today there are nearly 38 million people in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canada and military bases worldwide involved.
And Placerville is right at the forefront. In addition to the traditional kickoff events in four different locations, where the public is welcome to attend, there will be block parties in 10 neighborhoods throughout town. Kids will enjoy bounce houses at three of the kickoff locations: at MORE, 399 Placerville Drive; Benham Park/Placerville Aquatic Center, 3071 Benham St.; and in the Grocery Outlet parking lot, 1426 Broadway. The other kickoff location is the Main Library, 345 Fair Lane.
Live music and a DJ will be part of the kickoff parties, with 120 West playing at the Grocery Outlet location, Island of Black and White playing at Benham Park, and DJ Sound Guy Entertainment playing at the library location. There will be free water, chips and hot dogs at all locations as well as free tri-tip sandwiches until they run out at Grocery Outlet and the library.
The action gets under way at the MORE kickoff location at 5 p.m., with other kickoff parties getting going at 5:30. The fun will last until 7 p.m. The City Pool will be open from just after 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Police officers, who each year say they enjoy meeting “the good guys” after having to deal with the criminal element most of their time, will be on hand at all the neighborhood city block parties, as will SAR representatives and city dignitaries including City Council and Planning Commission members along with city department heads. State Assemblyman Frank Bigelow also is expected to make appearances at the block parties.
Most block parties will begin about 5:30 p.m. and end about 8. Each neighborhood has its own coordinators and so each will have its own flavor, but expect plenty of kids’ activities, fun food and a great time. Block parties are open to those who live in those neighborhoods, and some even require RSVPs, so check with your friends and neighbors if there are questions.
National Night Out events also will fill the community of Pollock Pines throughout Tuesday evening, with that town heaping on the fun and freebies. Not only will there be free hot dogs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Pollock Pines residents will learn about evacuation preparation, which is highly relevant in this fierce fire season and in light of the most recent, local Sand Fire.
Those attending in Pollock Pines are asked to bring their own lawn chairs and picnic goodies to go along with the free hot dogs, then settle back to chat with neighbors and enjoy the presentations by the Pollock Pines Fire Safe Council, Office of Emergency Services, the Community Emergency Response Team, Search and Rescue, local firefighters and their engines and much, much more.
Just west of that community, the charming town of Camino will join the National Night Out celebration with free hot dogs and barbecue setup at the Camino Community Church Park, 4205 Carson Road. The band Hickory Wind will entertain the family crowd, and those attending are advised to bring lawn chairs and blankets for an old-fashioned picnic. New blankets and children’s books are also requested as donations to benefit the Camino Cares Christmas Project.
Burke Junction is inviting the public to a special community celebration of El Dorado County’s finest — the first responders dedicated to protecting our lives and property. Enjoy displays by local firefighters and law enforcement’s exhibition of equipment they use; climb aboard a real-life ambulance and fire truck; pet the EDC Search & Rescue horses; there will be free gifts for the little ones; kids ride free on the BJ Train until sunset (with a paid adult ticket); there will be special NNO discounts from select merchants and restaurants; and free car rides aboard a 1929 Ford Model A will be offered.