No one wants to live in a place where they do not feel safe and this year’s National Night Out Against Crime gave folks in Lake Stevens and Granite Falls the resources they need and comfort knowing that their towns are be¬ing watched over by the best and the brightest.
National Night Out began in Lake Stevens 10 years ago by the Lake Stevens Family Center and Granite Falls hopped on board seven years later. Local police and firefighters along with sev¬eral other community organiza¬tions, were represented at both events.
“Our local event mirrors a national movement that has been taking place on the first Tuesday of every August for the past 26 years,” Linda Rudat of the Lake Stevens Family Center said. “The focus is to ‘give crime a going away party’ with activi¬ties and resources on prevention, community health, and personal safety.”
Over 1500 people gathered in downtown Lake Stevens where entertainment took center stage on Main Street and booths were set-up all the way into North Cove Park.
“Ten groups offered enter¬tainment, with acts purposely chosen to reflect the diversity and strength of our community,” Rudat said.
The Lake Stevens service clubs provided a free meal, including hot dogs and chips from the Lake Stevens Kiwanis, complimented by nachos by the Lions Club and popcorn by the Rotary Club.
“These service clubs ensure that the event remains accessible and enjoyable to every member of our community, and their generosity is deeply appreciated,” Rudat said.
In Granite Falls firefighters grilled up hot dogs provided by Granite Falls IGA, Alfy’s Pizza taste-tested their two new pizzas and Whistle Stop Coffee Shop provided Italian sodas.
“It’s fun to see the people in the com¬munity, we have a great time every year,” Sherri Pribble-Jones from Alfy’s Pizza said.
Over 350 people gathered next to the IGA where there was a bouncy house, games and representatives from the Sno¬homish County Emergency Management, Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, DSHS and Providence Interven¬tion Center for Assault.
“This provides an invaluable opportu¬nity for our department to build positive relationships with members of our com¬munity. We all had a lot of fun and we’re already looking forward to next year,” Granite Falls Police Officer Don Lauer said.
While some of our neighboring cities canceled their National Night Out events this year due to economic trouble, both Lake Stevens and Granite Falls were able to continue their annual events.
“Surrounding communities like Marysville and Arlington canceled their National Night Out Against Crime events this year due to the economy, the Lake Stevens Family Center persevered, in large part because of donors and supporting partners,” Rudat said.
The beautiful weather prevailed and families supported their community event gathering information in a casual setting where they could mingle with neighbors and their local police and firefighters.
“I am very appreciative of all the people and organizations that donate to the event and contribute their time, talents and passion for Lake Stevens and the people that live here,” Kathleen Friend, Director of the Lake Stevens Family Center said. “I can’t begin to thank everyone enough for helping LSFC organize such a great event that is available to everyone.”
In Granite Falls, kids laughed as they dunked police officers in the dunk tank and jumped in the bouncy house, but the hot dogs and pizza was the main at¬traction.
“The food is the best part,” 10-year-old Tracy and 11-year-old Emmy Romack said.
In Lake Stevens the evening ended with the unfolding of a paper chain that had been constructed all night by the com¬munity at the Family Center booth. People were asked to write their names on a slip of paper, decorating it to represent their part in the community.
“Their links were added to members of their family, as well as organizations, teams, clubs, churches, or other assets in the community that form their own unique network. As the chain grew, the message was driven home that the best preventive strategy against crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and violence, is to nourish and strengthen the rich connec¬tions among us,” Rudat said.
To view the video from the hula hoop competition between Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori and Lake Stevens Fire Chief Gary Faucett, visit www.lakestevens¬familycenter.org