More than 40 different Naperville neighborhoods took part in the 26th Annual National Night Out this week. Commonly referred to as “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” it’s an annual event held the first Tuesday in August focused on strengthening community bonds and partnerships between the police and community.
This year Naperville made it a two-day celebration, kicking things off on Monday night at the Fry Family YMCA. The free community event featured games, activities, face-painting and a showing of Disney’s animated film “Encanto.”
Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres is proud of the city he serves and knows it takes a full community effort to put on an event like the National Night Out. “Behind me, you see all the people that are here to have a good time, interact with the police department, all the employees and all the different services that we are discussing tonight and opportunities to make food donations,” said Arres. “It just speaks to what Naperville is. It is a community that is all about partnership in so many ways.”
Arrowhead Park, Forest View Estates and Ashwood Club all participated in neighborhood celebrations for the first time this year. Over at Arrowhead Park, basketball and kickball games were a big part of the family fun. And at many of the neighborhoods, like West Wind Estates, Naperville police officers and other first responders stopped by to connect with the community.
Deputy Naperville Fire Chief Phil Giannattasio was happy to see the smiling faces of the people he helps in the community. “Most of what we do is responding to someone else’s emergency, which generally isn’t a good day for them,” said Giannattasio. “We love when the opportunity exists where we get to interact with the people who we serve in a positive fashion, without an emergency under these kinds of circumstances. This community is filled with the best and the brightest this world has to offer, and we are privileged to serve them and be able to be here for them at this type of event under positive circumstances. It does a lot for our morale and us as individuals, and we are thrilled to be here.”
Connections with the greater community were also a part of the celebrations. During both days, food and clothing donations were accepted at every location for DuPagePads.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Will Payne.