The Westminster Police Department is inviting the community for an evening of free food, games, demos and the chance to get to know officers and others who serve the city at the annual National Night Out event.
Taking place on the first Tuesday of August, National Night Out began in August 1984 to promote camaraderie among law enforcement and community members in cities across the country. Since it was founded by the nonprofit National Association of Town Watch, more than 16,000 cities nationally have participated in National Night Out each year.
According to Sgt. Dave Ferronato, who is coordinating the event for the agency, the Westminster Police Department has been participating in National Night Out for more than a decade.
“It’s a good time,” he said. “It’s designed to get people out of the house for the evening. Walk around, meet their neighbors, talk to the police department, talk to the fire department. Have some free food, have a good time … get out and have a safe, enjoyable evening during the summer.”
This year’s event will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 near the Vons at 16450 Beach Blvd. in Westminster.
“People can expect not just the police department but all the different city departments to be out there,” Ferronato said.
Among them will be Community Recreation, Public Works, the Family Resource Center, and the Orange County Fire Authority. Businesses participating in the vendor fair include Dennis Dillon RV Marine Powersports, Howard’s Appliance TV Mattress, Pieology, and Chick-fil-A. In addition to free food from Pieology and Chick-fil-A, a representative from Howard’s Big Green Egg barbecue grill will be barbecuing tri-tip.
“They’re all strong supporters of this event,” Ferronato said.
There will be plenty of activities for kids, including games, free stickers and handouts to collect, and a craft kits station provided by The Home Depot where they can build things like bug catchers and bird houses.
And of course, Dutch shepherd K9 Pako and his partner Officer Travis Hartman will be performing a demo to show the work they do.
A few animal-themed organizations will also be in attendance, including rescues and a service animal group.
Another group that will be on hand is Operation Gratitude, which puts together care packages for members of the military and first responders.
Ferronato said last year’s event went really well.
“I stopped counting after we hit 300,” he said. “We had a lot of foot traffic last year.”
He invites the community to come by for a nice time and to meet members of law enforcement and others from the city.
“A lot of times people meet the police when they’re in crisis,” Ferronato said. “This gives a nice opportunity for both us and them to meet and hang out and get to have a conversation under different circumstances when people are there to have a good time and enjoy other people’s company.”