On August 2, the community of Shady Side will join thousands of other communities throughout the country to participate in the 28th annual National Night Out. The purpose of the event is to strengthen community spirit and give people a chance to meet their local law enforcement officials face to face.
This national neighborhood awareness and crime prevention event was started by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW). The events are all held in conjunction with each other but it is up to each community to determine how they participate.
From picnics to block parties, there are a variety of ways a community can participate, as long as it brings people together to strengthen community spirit. According to NATW website, 37 million people participated in the event last year from 15,000 communities from all 50 states as well as many U.S. territories and Military bases.
Mohan Grover owns Renno’s Market in Shady Side and is also known around town as the ‘unofficial mayor’ of the small south county community. This is the eighteenth year Grover has been organizing the event and said this year he expects around 800 people from the community and surrounding area to attend.
Thanks to the southern districts police relations committee, there will be plenty of southern district police officers in attendance along with the county police helicopter. Several county and police department officials will also be on hand including police Chief James Teale, southern district Captain Joseph Jordan, and county executive John Leopold.
Grover said that the event will also feature free, picnic-style food like pizza, hotdogs and ice cream along with a moon bounce for kids. There will also be live music, courtesy of the Shady Side Sour Notes. The purpose of the event, said Grover, is for people to make connections between community members as well as with law enforcement in a relaxed and fun environment.
Grover credits Kathleen Thompson of Shady Side who has been a crucial element of the planning process by getting several of the local sponsors to commit to helping out.
“It’s a day for the community to have a good time and to get to know their neighbors,” he said. “It’s also for people in the community to meet with police officers and talk with them so they realize they are with us and we’re all friends.”
“We also use this event to honor our local citizens that have done some community work,” Grover explained. Several awards will be given out at the event to residents of Shady Side that have made a commitment to making the community a safer place to live.
Grover said it is a lot of work to organize this event each year but he receives a lot of help. Several local businesses help sponsor the event including Deale Food Rite, Living Word Bible Church and Sojourner-Douglas College.
Grover said he hopes people have a great time and that they get a chance to connect with local law enforcement. “It’s a nice event and everybody has a great time,” he said. “We get to know each other and it connects the neighborhoods together.”
The event will be held on August 2 from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Lula G. Scott Community Center on Shady Side Road. It is free and open to the public and great for families said Grover. For more information on the event, stop by Renno’s in Shady Side and talk to Grover or he can be reached by phone at 410-867-3034.