National Night Out turns into county-wide event on Aug. 2 at Bullard

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 July 2016 at 12:00 am

File photos by Tom Rivers – Rex, the K9 for the Albion Police Department, retrieves his favorite toy, a black rubber ball, during an demonstration at Bullard Park last August during the first National Night Out.

ALBION – The second annual National Night Out at Bullard Park is expanding into a county-wide event on Aug. 2 at Bullard Park. Residents will be welcome to try games and activities, as well as free food while meeting law enforcement officers and representatives from many local agencies.

“We want to entertain families in a setting where there are no drugs, tobacco or violence,” said Roland Nenni, Albion police chief and co-chairman of the event along with Patricia Crowley, project director for the Orleans County United Against Substance Abuse Coalition.

The first National Night Out last Aug. 4 attracted 200 people despite a downpour. More agencies, fire departments and other community members have stepped forward since then, wanting to help with the event, Nenni said.

The 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. event will include an inflatable obstacle course, canine demonstrations, face painting, fire trucks, car seat inspections, Mercy Flight aircraft tours, a bike rodeo and other displays.

Nenni said more community groups are welcome to be part of National Night Out. For more information, groups should contact Sarah May at GCASA by calling (585) 331-8740 or by email at

Nenni said organizers of National Night Out want community groups to participate if they can provide a game, activity or another way to enhance the event.

The armored vehicle used by the Albion Police Department and the Orleans County SWAT team was on display during National Night Out last August.

One goal of “National Night Out” is to connect police with their communities and promote crime prevention and drug-free activities.

The event will include free hot dogs and hamburgers provided by Fidelis Care and served by a local church. There will also be a bike helmet and school supply giveaway while supplies last.

There will also be a Battle of the Belts competition where each team has four participants who have to run to a vehicle, buckle their seat belts and then throw their hands in the air. A referee will yell rotate and the four team members have to buckle belts at four different seats in the vehicle.

There will be prizes in a youth division (ages 10 to 18); adult division (ages 19 and up); education division featuring teachers and school staff; and a business/organization division.

Nenni said the competition should be fun and also will promote the importance of wearing seatbelts, especially for children in back seats.