DOBSON — Visitors and residents packed Dobson Square Park for the town’s third consecutive National Night Out event.
According to Dobson Police Chief Shawn Myers, about 1,000 people turned out for Tuesday evening’s Night Out, which began at 6 p.m. and was scheduled to end at 8 p.m., but a popular attraction kept some people there nearly an hour later.
In the past, the event has been headlined by a rescue demonstration. Local fire and rescue personnel performed a training exercise in front of a large gathering. One year, a car wreck was staged, and last year rescue workers extricated somebody from a staged crashed aircraft.
Myers said he was unable to garner all of the needed equipment for such a demonstration this year, but next year’s demonstration will be the biggest and best yet.
Last year, Myers estimated attendance to the event to have been about 1,800.
“As far as attendance, we did better than we thought we would do without the rescue scenario,” added Myers.
The chief said there was still plenty to do. Though the event included inflatables for children and a dunking booth, a DWI course drew much attention from those who gathered.
Myers said folks had the opportunity to wear DWI goggles which simulate the effects of alcohol and attempt to drive his department’s all-terrain vehicle through a course in a controlled environment.
“A lot of people stuck around after 8 to do the DWI course,” said Myers. “We didn’t get out of there until around 9.”
Of course, those who dropped by the event were treated to free hot dogs, chips and drinks, as has been the case at the gathering in the past.
Myers said about 300 left-over hot dogs were sent to the Children’s Center of Surry at the night’s end.
National Night Out events take place across the country on the first Tuesday in August. They endeavor to bring the community and law enforcement officers together under good circumstances in hopes of building long-standing, good relationships between officers and the members of the community they serve.
Myers said that’s exactly why he began to hold the annual Night Out again three years ago, after more than a decade had passed since the town had held a Night Out.
“We already have a great relationship with the members of this community, but this event helps us to keep building that rapport,” explained Myers. “It also serves to help people get involved in the community.”
Though police officers manned the grill and supervised the DWI course, they weren’t the only first-responders greeting members of the community at the park on Tuesday.
The Dobson Fire Department had a number of trucks on display, and fire fighters mingled with visitors. The Surry County Sheriff’s Office was also represented at the event.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.