By Andrew Edwards
Photos by Bob Ealum
The City of Prattville celebrated the sixth annual national night out Tuesday, Oct. 8 in the Target parking lot, hosting nearly 1,500 people.
National Night Out is an event that gives the opportunity for local law enforcement, businesses and the community to come together and interact in a family friendly environment. It’s also a chance to meet local police officers and firefighters, which allows the public to really understand what they do on a day to day basis.
Prattville Sheriff Joe Sedinger knows how important an event like this is was for the public.
“It’s a good chance for us to bond with the public,” Sedinger said. “We’re so happy to have these tents set up from both Autauga and Elmore County. It’s great to see the support that these people have for our law enforcement.”
The tents that Sedinger was speaking about were set up by over 20 different businesses and community organizations. The National Guard, Airforce, Milos, Bass Pro and many more lined the parking lot perimeters. Each location had its own unique giveaways and prizes, but what really sold it for the public were the games.
The Prattville Patriots had an area where kids could throw footballs into specific netted holes, earning prizes. The Prattville Police Department gave away stuffed animals to children while the Prattville Fire Department had a firetruck on the scene where kids could learn about the ins and outs of the vehicle.
There were also learning experiences set up on sight. Chief among them was the opportunity for individuals to sit in a car while wearing “drunk driving glasses.” This apparel allowed people to simulate what it was like to drive under the influence and to show the dangers it poses.
NNO also proved to be an opportunity for some to encourage voting in the community. Prattville Probate Judge Kim Kervin had a booth set up to do just that.
“The probate office is here to promote voting. Next year is a big election. We have information where people can actually register to vote here tonight by form or by internet. We also have an app that people can use to get registered as well,” she said.
Kervin’s booth also had a dinosaur mascot, which the children absolutely loved. Many of the tents had people dressed as different characters, handing out candy and other free items. These relationships that businesses were able to build with the community was something that Prattville Assistant Police Chief Diane Thomas loves.
“It’s a way for our communities to come together under the same fence, to see what the business community has to offer. It’s about communicating and to show our communities what we [the police department] do over here,” Thomas said.
“There’s been a great crowd here tonight. We actually had a lot people start showing up 30 minutes before we even officially started, so it’s just a blessing to see how much support the community is showing to us,” Thomas went on to explain.
The majority of the country hosts this event in early August, but that majority doesn’t deal with the heat that Alabama faces. The move to October made for a brisk, pleasant evening for friends and families to come out and enjoy themselves while celebrating with the rest of the community.