Turning ‘lights on’ for National Night Out

Good eats, live music and a blockbuster movie under the stars made for a great evening at Memorial Park on Tuesday night as residents of all ages came out to celebrate Claremont’s National Night Out.

The event kicked off with a concert, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Claremont and performed by local favorite, The Happy Crowd.  Band members Hai Muradian, Kenny McSpadden, and Professor “Smartie” Martie took to the stage and got Claremonters up on their feet and dancing to songs like, “Say Something Nice About Someone” and “Around in a Circle.” Following a dance contest crowning the winner, the band said their goodnights and introduced the feature attraction, a showing of The Lego Movie sponsored by police.

In addition to concessions offered by the Kiwanis Club, residents were in for an added treat from In-N-Out burger. Claremont residents who picked up one of 600 free tickets that were offered at the police department received a free made-to-order hamburger and an ice cold drink at the park.

The Claremont Police Department and Human Services Department organized the city event that, for the past 7 years, have brought residents together with law enforcement in an effort to heighten awareness and enhance community relations.

Organizations including the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Keeping Good in the Neighborhood (KGNH), Claremont Crime Prevention Coalition, Sustainable Claremont, Claremont Community School of Music and many others set up booths in the park, offering games and goodie bags as guests stopped by to learn of their mission.

“We’re very happy with the turnout,” said Sargent Lori Davenport, who helped coordinate the night. “It was especially great being able to work with human services to put on a very nice family event.”

It’s estimated that more than 1,000 people attended the event, including Mayor Joe Lyons and councilman Sam Pedroza. Six Claremont police officers, nine explorers and five community patrol volunteers were also on hand and assisting the crowd, helping to ensure attendees had a pleasant family experience at the park.

The Claremont Police Department’s new Emergency Operations Center, a CPD Ford Explorer K9 unit as well as a Los Angeles County Fire engine from station 101 in Claremont were on display, allowing visitors an up-close look at these revolutionary vehicles. Law enforcement and fire personnel were on site to answer any questions.

According to the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), National Night Out now involves over 37.8 million people and 16,124 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

The traditional “lights on” campaign, which began 31-year ago, has expanded into a celebration across America. With various events and activities including, block parties, cookouts, parades, visits from emergency personnel, rallies and marches, youth events, safety demonstrations and seminars, Americans are encouraged to take a stand against violence and promote safe neighborhoods.

—Angela Bailey



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