GOWANDA - It has been seven years since Gowanda has celebrated National Night Out but Tuesday children and their families were participating in the annual event again.
The Gowanda National Night Out was sponsored by the Gowanda Neighborhood Watch and the Gowanda PTA and held at the American Legion Post 409.
Officer Jen Alessi brought the idea of National Night Out coming back to the village to the Neighborhood Watch members, Janet Vogtli, member of the Neighborhood Watch said. Vogtli said the Neighborhood Watch just held a block party to help gear up residents for National Night Out.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Gowanda Police Officer Dave Hock (right) with his K-9 partner Mike gave demonstrations on taking down a criminal.
"We want our community more involved," she said.
Another block party is being planned for the Hidi neighborhood. Mayor Heather McKeever hopes National Night Out will be a recurring event.
"We want to make this an annual thing," McKeever said.
Vogtli even discussed maybe moving up the event next year so that students who participate in sports can enjoy the event who may have already started practicing.
"If we move it up a few weeks, we can get the football players and the cheerleaders (from the school)," Vogtli said.
During the event, there were also demonstrations from the fire department which took part in an extrication drill and the police department held a K-9 demonstration with officer Dave Hock and his partner, Mike. Mike is trained in discovering narcotics, tracking and control services. Hock demonstrated Mike's talent by searching for marijuana hidden in a police car and ability to take down a criminal. Hock provided all commands to Mike in Dutch but his regular obedience commands were in English.
Alessi was pleased with the turnout considering the absence of the event for the past several years and the other activities occurring in the community.
"I am pleased with the turnout considering everything that is going on (in the community)," Alessi said.
The Gowanda Fire Safety House was on display for children and families to walk through. The fire department handed out fire safety materials to teach children and their families about fire safety.
Other activities included crafts by the Girl Scouts, a bike raffle by the Gowanda Police Bike Patrol, the Mason Child I.D. Program by the Phoenix Lodge, popcorn and activities by the Gowanda PTA, cotton candy by the Gowanda Wave Runners, food by Red's Dogs and Cones and the American Legion Post 409. Informational tables were provided by the Allegany Highlanders Boy Scouts Troop 276, Gowanda Neighborhood Watch, Healthy Community Alliance and the Gowanda Fire Explorer Program. Music was provided by Tim McKeever Entertainment.
Mayor McKeever expressed her gratitude to all volunteers who helped Tuesday.
"I really want to thank all the volunteers and people who made the event possible," she said.
This is the 29th annual National Night Out event which is held on the second Tuesday in August. It is used to promote safer neighborhoods and heighten crime awareness. The Gowanda Neighborhood Watch program's goal is to "create an alert neighborhood by using simple crime prevention methods," according to their mission statement. For more information on Gowanda Neighborhood Watch, visit their Facebook Page at "Gowanda Neighborhood Watch."
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