DANVILLE – Locally in the past, National Night Out on the first Tuesday in August has meant residents turn on their porch lights and neighbors meet to talk about their crime watch programs.
Danville Boys & Girls Club members also had marches for National Night Out community parades against crime and drugs.
This year the public is invited to attend numerous different activities going on at all three fire stations.
Firefighter Ryan Allison said they started talking about hosting a NNO event this year.
“It’s just grown,” Allison said about the activities.
He said more and more people have wanted to get involved. He said it’s been great to see all the community support for it. It’s a community event, he said.
The Danville Fire and Police departments, Arrow and Pro Ambulance services along with various Danville neighborhood associations have teamed up for 2019 National Night Out event.
The event will be 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at each of the city’s three fire stations.
There will be vendors selling food, activities for children, music, safety demonstrations, a classic car cruise in and other opportunities to socialize with the men and women who are trying to help make our community a safer place to live and work in, according to Allison.
Each station will host unique activities so citizens can visit as many of the stations as they like and experience something different. This event wouldn't be possible without the community partners and the support from the community, Allison said.
At Fire Station 1 at 301 W. Seminary Street will be Project Safe House where youths and families can learn about exiting a home when there’s smoke and a fire, having two ways out of a home, safe cooking such as turning pot handles in on a stove and seeking shelter in a storm. Also, there will be kids zones at all fire stations. The one at Station 1 is being put on by Project Success and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Station 2 at 2129 N. Vermilion St. will have the National Child Identification program by the police auxiliary. Families can fingerprint their children and receive kits to take home. The kids zone with games and music will be put on by Aunt Martha’s and the YMCA. The Chesterfield Neighborhood Association also will be having S'mores Along the Boulevard for people to bring their own s'mores to cook over a fire pit and socialize.
Chester Street between Vermilion and Jackson streets will be closed off during that time.
Allison said other neighborhood associations also have been involved with this event, such as Legionland and the Oaklawn and Fairweight group.
In preparation for the night, groups have been helping with “Change the Landscape” clean-up days at the fire stations. The final one is 8 a.m. to noon today at Fire Station 3 at 1111 N. Griffin St.
Fire Station 3 on National Night Out will have more activities since there is more room there.
AirLife is tentatively expected to land a helicopter and the Illinois Fire Service Institute will have a live fire demonstration where two built rooms will be set on fire. The rooms will contain old furniture donated by Habitat for Humanity of Danville and the Robin Hood Foundation of Danville. Also at Station 3, there will be a junior firefighter combat challenge of an obstacle course for youths to go through. The kids zone there will be put on by The Hope Center and Boys & Girls Club.
Everything is free for families except for the food vendors.
Food vendors will include at Station 1: Kag’s BBQ, Papa John’s and Paw Paw Pete’s Ice Cream; Station 2: Jake Frank’s BBQ, Yo Dogs and Custard Cup; and Station 3: Shark’s Grill, Zeke’s Eats and another ice cream truck.
Allison said local businesses have helped with donations, such as Fiberteq, Mervis Industries, ThyssenKrupp and Loman-Ray Insurance. They've only had to spend some money on porta potties, he said.
OSF HealthCare also will have staff on hand for health screenings and to talk about services at Fire Stations 1 and 2. Carle and Arrow Ambulance will be at Station 3 to talk about hands-only CPR and other services.
A cruise in of vintage cars will be at Station 3.
Allison said Steve Lane with the city has been a big help with the fire station’s grounds and getting them ready for the activities.
Other organizations also are involved with the night’s activities including Senior Source Danville and Love INC, Allison said.
He said the night is a great opportunity for the public and first responders to interact.
The night shows the good things going on in the community and the city is going to chase the bad things away, Allison said.
"Their first responders really do care and we're really trying to make a difference," Allison added.
He added all the participants are trying to make a difference in the community, and they hope to do this every year, possibly rotating the night of the week for the event and growing it into even more neighborhoods.
About National Night Out
“America’s Night Out Against Crime” began as an effort to promote involvement in crime-prevention activities, public safety community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. National Project Coordinator, Matt Peskin says, “This is a night for America to stand together and promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity. National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight for a safer nation. We invite neighborhoods nationwide to join us and ‘give crime a going-away party.’” For more information visit https://natw.org/about/.